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Monday, February 13, 2012

Colbert speaks out

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said today that the team has had internal discussions about the future of wide receiver Hines Ward, but that no decision has been made about whether Ward will be part of the team in 2012.

Colbert also had a couple of other interesting statements.

First, he's not counting on Rashard Mendenhall to return healthy in 2012 after suffering an ACL tear in the final game of the regular season.

Second, the team will not sign any of its free agents before the March 13 deadline.

In the case of Mendenhall, that means the Steelers will likely be looking for a running back in the offseason - either through the draft or free agency.

It's a safe approach for Colbert to take. Assume Mendenhall won't be back healthy, and if he is, it's an added bonus.

As for the free agent statement, it helps make a case for the Steelers to keep Ward.

Yes, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are under contract, but with Jerricho Cotchery set to become a free agent, there's no proven depth behind them.


Anonymous said...

Dale, you probably have more info than what's stated on this article, but this gives me the impression they are not looking for a runningback:

Even with the availability of Mendenhall in question, Colbert said they do not necessarily have to bring in another running back.

"No more than we are for any other position. Our young backup contributors did a nice job" in 2011.

Read more:

And I can't say I disagree with not looking for another back. If anything just resign Moore, and if Batch can beat him out you still have Redman Dwyer Batch and maybe Clay

adamg said...

Just watched the end of the Rugby Sevens tournament and if the Steelers need a running back, they should check some of those guys out for a tryout. :)

I also think there's a better than even chance Wallace gets an offer sheet. NE needs a deep threat and has two first round picks in 2012 for example (nr 27 and nr 31).

Dale Lolley said...

They bring in young running backs every year - usuaully via undrafted route.
I know how they like to cover their bases - they don't like to be painted into a corner.
So I'm not saying they'll take one in the first round, but a sixth or seventh-round pick is a possibility, which it likely would not have been if Mendenhall were healthy.
As for bringing Moore back again, I don't know if that alone would fill the need.
Yes, Redman and Dwyer did well in 2011, but Dwyer also got hurt. And Batch is also coming off an ACL.

Anonymous said...

ah, makes sense a 6th-7th rounder yeah

According to Batch's blog his recovery is going really great. As long as he's healthy I think the kid makes this team. Injuries are the only thing stopping him

Jim said...

Would the Steelers really consider franchising Wallace instead of tendering him a first-round offer, to protect themselves from an offer sheet to Wallace, as I've seen some people inferring from Colbert's comments? I saw the first-and-third-round tender was done away with in the new CBA, which is quite unfortunate in this situation.

I suppose Colbert only does it with the intention of working out a longterm contract, and if they do, then the only loss is the Steelers can't franchise anyone else, which they wouldn't do anyways. However, it seems like a bit of risky move because Wallace, if he wants to roll the dice or he doesn't like the Steelers' offers, could play out the year under the franchise (for an extra $6mil or so than he would make under the RFA tender), and then hit the open market next year, and we would've probably played the year down one or two players that we could have afforded otherwise. It's not crazy, but definitely bold. The question is essentially "Is it worth a potential $6mil hit to our cap this year for exclusive negotiating rights to Wallace?"

bruinmann77 said...

i have to say the Steelers do have a way of finding a good Rb via the undrafted route

Anonymous said...

Wallace is good as gone if we don't franchise him. How could we compete with a 6yr/$60M contract offer? We just can't.

bruinmann77 said...

lets just hope it not the pats since they have 2 draft picks

Dale Lolley said...

I don't think I'd franchise him. That's just me. I don't think they could afford the cap hit.

adamg said...

As soon as a player gets the franchise tag, that salary immediately counts against the cap.
Since the Steelers are currently over the cap, not much chance of that happening.

Anonymous said...

It does seem like if someone really wanted to give up their first to get Wallace they could probably do it.

Another thing to consider is that he's the second-best receiver on the team.

Would love to keep him. If he had a second half of the season like his first half it would be a no-brainer to get him signed no matter what.

Sanders's feet and Cotchery's presumed (and deserved) desire to get on the field more worry me regardless of Ward's situation. My guess is Ward's gone and will end up retiring a la Willie Parker. Too bad, my all-time favorite Steeler.

I'm not worried about running backs. There are decent running backs for a season or two all over the place. I just saw one walk by my cubicle.

marc said...

colbert and kahn will work their magic once again. wallace will stay put. other key players will be retained. the offense is actually young, and the defense will look much younger as well.

a veteran RB on the cheap would make sense. will there be one out there?

first 3 rounds, in any order, DL, ILB, OL would be good.

i'm excited for this team next year. i like seeing the young guys coming into their own. it appears the steelers have done a good job reloading this team.

Jim said...

The tag or tender, whichever one it is, would not come until the start of the new league year, if I'm not mistaken, so their current cap problem isn't the worry. And if they work out a long term deal, that becomes his cap number, and if they really want Wallace here for the long term, they're planning for a #1 receiver-type deal.

adamg said...

The issue with Wallace is, which Mike Wallace is he? The one who had a great first half? Or the one who disappeared in the second half and had trouble holding to the balls that did come his way? Does the FO gamble he's the first and not the second?

Anonymous said...

I'll take my chances with the Front Office's gamble. Their record speaks for itself

if they don't give Wallace a long term deal then they likely don't think he's as good. But everything seems to indicate they want to give him that deal, it all depends on how and when with this cap issue

Anonymous said...

The wide receiver or running back situation is far less of a problem than the defensive line. Smith & Hampton were two of the best at what they did for a decade. But if either is back next year I would be frightened.

Hopefully Hood & Heyward & McClendon can step up but even then depth & a new nose tackle are huge worries. Add a (potentially) much-weakened front three to the Farrior/Foote combo and you're looking at quite a decline. If you're feeling pessimistic.

adamg said...

Transcript of Labriola interview with Colbert:

John Kang said...

#86 provides veteran leadership that the young receiver corps looks up to. He instills the Steeler Way, just like The Bus did in his twilight years.

Not to mention he can still level a linebacker in the running game and can still get open and catch the ball if given the chance. With the chip on his shoulder that this year has given him, I bet he's going to be more of a terror than ever. Hope management can see that.

Anonymous said...

Why would Colbert use the franchise on Wallace to begin with? It makes no sense. Sign him to a high tender and let the potential suitors/bidders have at it. Then they have the choice of either matching the highest offer or take a first round pick as compensation.

I'm not the least bit concerned about Mendenhall not playing in 2012.

I'm more concerned with what changes they are and should make on the defensive side of the ball. IMO, it's a no brainer that Aaron Smith and James Farrior should retire. Colbert procrastinated too long to deal with drafting Casey's eventual replacement. Now Colbert is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Casey is having ACL surgery and his #1 backup, Hoke retired. The only legitimate N.T. they have left is practice squad player, McLeandon. Even if Casey is medically cleared to play, by the time camp rolls around, he'll be so fat and out of shape that it'll take twice as long as they have to get him into game shape. In addition, Colbert is not going to want to pay Casey to be a part time player, especially at his age and at his current salary. Given those facts regarding Casey, I don't see how drafting a stud N.T. is not a top priority on day one of the draft. They also have to address the O.L.B. position in the draft because Worilds is the only backup with any in game experience along with the fact that James Harrison is around thirty three years old and has already had two back surgeries.