Friday, February 10, 2012

Steelers to cut Ward?

According to the NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora, who apparently has a direct line to head coach Mike Tomlin thanks to his NFL affiliation, the Steelers have decided to release wide receiver Hines Ward rather than pay him $4 million to be the team's No. 4 receiver next season.

There was some thought to cutting Ward's salary, something the receiver was open to, but the Steelers, according to LaCanfora, have decided they have no use for a No. 4 receiver who can't play special teams.

© In other news, the Steelers have restructured the contracts of both Ike Taylor and Lawrence Timmons, moving them closer to getting under the league salary cap of approximately $124 million.

In the past few days, the Steelers have freed up $15 million by restructuring the contracts of LaMarry Woodley, Timmons and Taylor.

They also saved over $3 million on Wednesday with the release of Bryant McFadden and Arnaz Battle.

36 comments:

Steve-O said...

If true this is the end of an era. Hines was a true professional and will go down as the toughest wide receiver in Steelers history. Unfortunately the great ones rarely know when to hang em' up and his heart may still be willing but his deteriorated skill set just won't measure up. Thanks for the memories Hines and we look forward to your enshrinement in Canton.

DIRT4HOF said...

I don`t think we`ve seen the last of Mr Ward....

Anonymous said...

so Dale, what's your take on this? If they do release him, which seems likely, you think they still try to come up with a fair contract for him? If not does he go home or try and fina a new team?

adamg said...

Isn't Lacanfora the same guy who said the Steelers were going to cut Hampton about 3 years ago?

Anyway, seems a little odd the team would leave itself with only 3 WRs on the roster. Grisham signed with another team, Battle was released, Cotchery is a UFA and Wallace is an RFA. I know they signed DWill, but he's never been quite the same since the severe broken arm he suffered as a soph at Penn St.

alexrkirby said...

If the Steelers have to choose between resigning Cotchery and keeping Ward I hope they resign Cotchery.

Ward just didn't seem to be able to get any separation last year.

adamg said...

If the theory is the 4th wr should play STs, Cotchery doesn't afaik.

Ward's skill is finding openings in the coverage or holes in the zone, not running away from DBs.
Ward never had breakaway speed.

And, getting seperation doesn't necessarily equal getting open. Let's face it, Wallace got lots of seperation, but didn't make very many catches the second half of the season.

steelcan said...

Considering how they did everything to get Hines his 1000 catches down the stetch,(short passes galore) none of us should be surprised, they knew this is it. Remember folks, father time is UNDEFEATED!

Anonymous said...

This is BS..Let him stay another yr then he can retire as a Steeler.....

Dale Lolley said...

Yes, LaCanfora is the same guy who reported that. But you have to remember, this is Tomlin telling him stuff - or somebody else in the front office through Tomlin. Could be a ploy to get the agent to the negotiating table - or, as was the case with Hampton, to get him on his toes.

Steve-O said...

What's with all this insider access to LaCanfora. From a few articles I've read in various Pittsburgh publications/blogs I get a sense of irritation with the Steelers for feeding insider information to him rather than the local beat writers. True?

adamg said...

You'd know better than me, but Ward met with both Tomlin and Rooney after the season. Sure seems like they'd have laid the cards on the table then even if they all said something different in public.

I know the Rooneys can be hard a$$es with players like they were with Franco, Woodson, Gary Anderson, etc, but those guys were looking for better contracts. Ward isn't looking for more money and has stated he'd restructure his contract for cap purposes.

I dunno, leaking info to LaCanfora to send some kind of message to Ward really comes off as bush league. The guy is the franchise's all-time leading receiver after all. I guess my message to Tomlin would be, Man Up. If you don't want Ward back, tell him face to face, not drop a hint through some backdoor channel.

adamg said...

Looks like Omar Kahn decided to stay with the Steelers and declined the StL overture to interview for their GM job.

Dale Lolley said...

Here's the rub with LaCanfora. The NFL has told their coaches that they have to feed this guy stuff every once in a while to drive traffic to their web site and channel. It's not like he's actually working for this stuff. I don't even know if the coaches call him or he calls them.

Some of the stuff, however, he is wrong about - like Hampton - when the team uses him to put a story out nationally because it has an agenda. This Ward story feels like that to me.
They want to get Ward to the bargaining table at the minimum price tag. So somebody in the organization floats the story to light a fire under his agent's behind.

Steve-O said...

So in the sports journalism world the guy gets unearned street cred as an "insider" and the reality is that he's just a hack regurgitating spoon fed material... in other words a propaganda mouthpiece. I guess I can see how that would create this undertone that I've been seeing. Thanks for explaining.

Tim said...

I remember nearly every Steeler fan in the country laughing at LaConfora for the Hampton story. It hadn't occurred to me that he was lied to, but he was a moron for believing it. I knew as soon as he said it that he was way, way wrong, I just figured he was making a guess, not being made a sucker. What a stupid system.

adamg said...

Thanks for the infor, Dale. Good stuff. Knowing how secretive Tomlin is and how much he hates giving any info to the media, this duty must annoy him to no end.

Still not sure why, when Ward is already ok with restructuring his contract, you have to leak this story. But, whatever.

marc said...

Ward should retire. I don't think they should bring him back at any cost. Time to move on.

ibygeorge said...

"a hack regurgitating spoon fed material... " right on Steve-O.

Anonymous said...

Ward needs to come out before next season, and say this is my last season, no matter what. Then we can celebrate what he has brought to the Steelers over the years!!

He needs to retire a Steeler, plain and simple, and yes that means a drastic pay cut for him.

joe said...

glad to see khan is staying. hines is willing to take a pay cut, so get it done. he offers more as a guy to look up to than anyone else they would sign as the fourth receiver. especially with one receiver suspended, cotchery not signed, and wallace a possible free agent loss.

do the guys who put these "stories" out there just to be first care that they are wrong many times ? (hampton cut) and the people trying to sensationalize the ben/arians/haley story aren't really engaging in journalism, just selective quoting and trying to stir things up. sign of the times i guess

Whack said...

Is Hines willing to play special teams??? I mean if he is gonna be in essence replacing Battle as the 4th stringer... is he willing to play special teams... with his style of play, knocking the daylights out of guys he could be a special teams demon.

Anonymous said...

He could, and he excelled at that early in his career. But I doubt we see a 35 year old playing special teams

adamg said...

Battle was the 5th, and the year before, 6th WR.

Ward played STs his first few years. I wouldn't be surprised if the coaches asked him, he'd be willing to do it again.

Henigin said...

Ward might be a good special teamer, if he could keep his 36-yr old (by the time the season starts) body from getting injured in the process.

Darren said...

Yeah, this smells more like a "negotiation through public channels report" than a real report.

Ward then used the same tactic and posted on Facebook to let the public know he is willing to take a cut for next year and wants to retire a Steeler.

HACK said...

Ward back at league min is not only a good deal...but a bargain. How many teams have their #3,4, or 5 WR with 1000 catches.

I think Ward would actually agree to play some ST...its how he started his career...He seems like a guy that would relish the challenge of going full circle....If his body could hold up would be the true question.

And this is all from a guy who wanted to cut Ward before last season....IMO you cut Ward...with the offer publicly made to bring him back at the cheapest available contract...maybe with some playing time incentives if he somehow earns his starting spot back....if he signs...an ICON stays with his team...he he gets offers for 3 mill a year he can take it if he so chooses.

I also would bring Sweed back to camp...see if Haley can get more of what BA refused to get from him.

Anonymous said...

Why do some blame Arians for Sweed's failures? The poor guy simply never had it mentally, you could see it in his demeanor from 2009 on

Arians always spoke highly of the kid as far as I can remember

Tim said...

Anonymous, because Arians went to great lengths, often downright silly lengths, to make sure that Sweed did not make it onto the field (not only did we have the maxed out Drops McGee Nate Washington in for Sweed, which is very frustrating when all there was to complain about with Sweed was his drops, but he simply never went to his 4th WR, instead lining up Mewelde Moore on the LOS when he went 5 wide). Lots of young players, especially receivers, have a rough patch making the transition into the NFL. It often takes 3 years before they "get it," and that's when they're playing full time. Sweed did fine in practice and camp and preseason, but probably played the equivalent of about 2 or 3 real games. He was never given an opportunity to work through his rough patch. Blame also goes to Tomlin for not overruling Arians, in my mind.

Battle was the 6th this year too, not 5th. But realistically he was more like 12th, being behind Miller, Moore, Mendenhall, Saunders, even Johnson and probably Redman. Since he joined the team, I've only seen him play WR in a regular season game on one play, I believe, or possibly two. He actually got wide open and Ben missed him.

Dale Lolley said...

I watched Sweed during practices - when he was healthy - he sulked his way off the roster last year. End of story. He had an Achilles tendon injury and had no burst. Nobody else signed him. Why do you think that is?

bruinmann77 said...

Dale what is your take about Ward Wex thinks it at 67 % that it can happen that he won't be back. Any news on Casey restructure or if Smith will retire.

Tim said...

That seems like a completely random thing to say about Sweed. All of my comments were about the time prior to the injury. There was no reason for him to be sitting on the bench in '08 and '09.

HACK said...

Dale...that Achilles injury might have something to do with it. No? I might sulk to if my OC publicly said that he forgot about me. The writing was on the wall as soon as they signed Cotchery...and Sweed knew it. Thats not to say that is the right actions to take...But a fresh start with a different OC in Haley...seems like low risk/high reward.

Dale Lolley said...

Sweed had his chances. Injuries and drops got him in TOMLIN'S doghouse, much like Keenan Lewis two years ago. When he did come back, he tore the Achilles, then pouted his way through his final camp.
Again, he was so good that nobody signed him after he was cut. He is not coming back. Move on.

Anonymous said...

Sweed got his ring just like Arians and Mitch Berger did anyway.

I don't understand why he gets so much attention still -- just because he got open a few times? It makes as much sense to long for the days of Dallas Baker at this point.

If only they had used Dallas right, or if he had managed to snag that Hail Mary vs. the Giants in 2008, he could have been the Greatest...

marc said...

i liked sweed and thought he had a shot a being pretty good. ultimately, his own head brought him down then he got hurt.

fact is, sweed was drafted by argueably the best organization in the nfl, learned under a future HOF wide receiver and a quality WR coach and still couldn't make it. i doubt he would have lasted as long as he did with any other team.

regarding ward, he will be back next year as long as he agrees to the bare minimum in $, imo. the wild card here is cotchery. without him, the steelers are suddenly thin at WR depth, especially considering sanders foot problems.

adamg said...

Colbert said today that the Steelers won't be signing any of their own RFAs or UFAs before March 13th. As much as Cotchery might have liked it here, he's probably no better than a 3rd receiver assuming Wallace doesn't get an offer sheet. He can probably do better elsewhere. I honestly don't see him back in Pgh.