Monday, June 22, 2009

Talks continue

My sources tell me that the Steelers are continuing talks with some of their players who will be free agents at the conclusion of the 2009 season, most notably offensive tackle Max Starks and tight end Heath Miller.

The Steelers are hopeful their can get something done with both players by the first couple of weeks of August at the latest.

Miller is a high priority because the Steelers feel he is one of the best tight ends in the NFL and is continuing to improve.

The Steelers also believe Starks is a solid left tackle and will also continue to improve with more playing time on the left side. They'd also like to lower his cap total.

18 comments:

Tim said...

Excellent. Must get Miller signed. I think he is the very best all-around TE in the league.

The Steelers have been paying Max Starks around $7M per year, one year at a time, right? I agree that he's solid-ish and understand wanting to keep him long term, but unless he gets WAY better, that is too much money for a player of his caliber. And would he really accept less money at this point? I'm sure he knows they don't have any other options right now.

Dale Lolley said...

The signing bonus for Starks will be the key.

alexrkirby said...

Starks has all the cards here the Steelers have no alternative to him and he knows it.

They only decision is will the Steelers take their medicine and pay him a high rate this year or compound their mistake by giving him a huge contract that is WAY over his value.

Patrick said...

the only way the Starks deal gets done in my opinion is a decent sized signing bonus, a lot of willigness by his agent to acknowledge the fact that he got $7m last year, and a ton of easy earned incentives coupled with a few harder to get ones - pro bowl appearances, etc.

If Starks is a UFA in March he's going to get probably get whatever the Steelers can offer right now plus the $8 he's on for this year. The ONLY risk for Starks is he gets seriously hurt this year or just has a flat awful season. When guys know this though, they generally don't have awful seasons, which is the small collateral benefit the Steelers get in this deal.

The Steelers are going to try and bang into his head then when he got the transaction tag, no one even thought about offering him a deal. We'll see if Starks and the agent buy into it.

Miller is much more simpler. Pay the guy, hes worth it. He doesn't catch a ton of balls during the season statistically, but it doesn't take a scientist to know what he brings to the table.

Anonymous said...

"The Steelers are hopeful their can get something done with both players by the first couple of weeks of August at the latest. "

Do your sources also know a team only has until mid July to sign a player under the franchise tag to a multi-year deal?

Keith said...

Gotta get Heath signed... no ifs, ands, or buts.

Max Starks is an underrated left tackle, I think. He plays better on the left side than on the right. He might never make a Pro Bowl but he's a consummate pro and LTs don't exactly grow on trees. I've always thought he'd be an ideal fit with a team with a left-handed QB but its hard to let a guy like him slip away.

alexrkirby said...

Such a consummate pro that he showed up out of shape in 06 played horrible all season then lost his starting spot to a guy who should be playing guard.

Sounds like long term LT to me. I can't believe we let Faneca walk so we could give the same money to this bum.

Anonymous said...

Won't Heath Miller be a RFA ? He doesn't have 6 seasons, and he's only played one contract. I believe under the expiring CBA that would make him RFA.

Anonymous said...

Yes I think Miller will be RFA with CBA ending.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Miller will be a RFA, so what's your point?

He's a great player and needs to be re-signed

Anonymous said...

Get a grip. No one said he shouldn't get an offer. It's a question. Sounds you are a bit grumpy-get a life and you will feel better.

Didn't see anyone say Miller wasn't a great player.

Let's hope this blog isn't turning into one of those girlie ones where you can't say anything without getting a whiney or rude response. lol

Anonymous said...

Put a tampon in your mouth, you whiney b!tch

lol

Anonymous said...

steelers tend to lean towards the more conservative side of things...as you all know...therefore, i don't think they will over pay for starks. if he doesn't take their offer, which will probably be below what he wants, they will let him play out his contract and then move on.

btw, i'm glad faneca is not around. he was only in it for the money and look where that got him. good for you faneca! big market team, big contract, new coach, rookie QB, crappy team...things are lookin up for big red!!

Bill in DC said...

Dave:

Thought these numbers were a bit interesting since there is so much chatter about the Steelers o-line. Granted they are not five pro bowlers but the Steelers schedule last season was historically difficult and seems to have been hardest on the o-line.

The Steelers played 7 games against the top 2-9 defenses (PHL, BAL, NYG, WAS, DAL, BAL, TEN) and they sacked the crap out of us: 35 sacks in 7 games, or 5 per game. Those teams combined (counting BAL twice) for 285 sacks or an average of 2.54 sacks per game (2.38 per game when the Steelers games are factored out). Of those 7 teams, all but WAS were in the top 11 in total sacks last season.

The Steelers played 9 games against the rest of the field and gave up 14 sacks or 1.56 sacks per game (half of those sacks came in two games -- SD/4 and JAX/3). Those teams combined to average 1.47 sacks a game, 1.46 when our games are factored out.

On the running side of things the Steelers played six teams that give up less than 100 yards per game and those six were in the top 9 defenses against the rush in the NFL (PHI, BAL, NYG, WAS, BAL, TEN). We never cracked triple digits in those games.

OPP YDS AVG RANK
PHI 32 92.3 (4)
BAL 69 81.4 (3)
NYG 95 95.8 (9)
WAS 64 95.4 (8 )
BAL 91 81.4 (3)
TEN 73 93.9 (5)

Against the rest of the field the Steelers broke 100 yards 8 out of 10 times with DAL (Rank 12) and IND (Rank 24) holding them to double digits.

As the line is evaluated I think it is fair to keep in mind how historically difficult the Steelers schedule was last year. That does not excuse giving up 35 sacks in 7 games, but explains it a bit. The Steelers o-line was average against most defenses, but terrible against the best pass rushes.

Additionally the front 5 took on 100% turnover from the previous season by the end of the season. A year of experience will (hopefully) make the line better and may explain further why the Steelers FO didn't feel an urgency to count on a draft pick coming in from day one and having to start.

Anonymous said...

Well Starks is a done deal. He got a 4 yr deal, or at least that is what is being announced.

Anonymous said...

Steelers signed LT Max Starks to a new four-year, $26.3 million contract. The deal includes $10 million in guarantees.

Anonymous said...

My sources tell me the Steelers just re-signed Starks (4 yrs)

Anonymous said...

To bill in DC, Stats can be skewed to prove a point either way. The bottom line, for me, was watching the Steelers offensive line get no push during the playoffs. Twice they were in 3rd down and goal to go and they failed to punch the ball in. LG, Kemo C, Hartwig and RG, Stapleton were weak at the point of attack. Kemo looked lost on many occasions and Hartwig simply got overpowered by the bigger NT's and DT's. Stapleton is just weak.