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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Two more vets told to hit the road, more coming?

The Steelers have informed defensive end Aaron Smith and guard Chris Kemoeatu that they are not in the team's plans for 2012 and will be released.

The news comes a day after the team informed wide receiver Hines Ward that he will also be released.

The total cap savings from those cuts - when they occur – will be $9.7 million.

And the Steelers might not be done. Avella native Ralph Cindrich, the agent for linebacker James Farrior, tweeted on Thursday that he expects his client could also be on the chopping block.

Certainly, either Farrior or fellow veteran inside linebacker Larry Foote, will not be with the team in 2012.

It is difficult to see Smith, like Ward, go.

A consummate professional, Smith was long one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the league - until everyone began talking about him being one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the league. By the time that happened, injuries began to knock him out of the lineup for extended periods of time.

Yet Smith was still one of the most respected men in a locker room full of strong leaders.

If the Steelers do indeed cut Farrior to go along with the cuts of Ward and Smith, they will have lost a great deal of leadership in their locker room.

Who steps into some of those roles remains to be seen.

Brett Keisel is a natural option along the defensive front, while Troy Polamalu, though not necessarily vocal, is a player who leads by example.

Offensively, there is little doubt that Ben Roethlisberger is now the man, though Maurkice Pouncey has also earned a lot of respect from his peers.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad they think of Pouncey that way, he certainly looks and speaks the part

perhaps in a few years since he's still just a 22 year old baby

Steve-O said...

Now that the Steelers are clearing cap space, is there any chance they go after Ben Grubs? They could fill a need and degrade a division foe at the same time. It would also let them focus on DE/NT/LB in round one of the draft.

steelcan said...

I dont know why people list DE as a need? (Steve O). You have 2 recent #1s in Hood(developing into a solid end)& Heyward, who I think could be an "Aaron Smith like star" in a year or two. And you have 2 young guys in Woods & Bryant who I think 1 will become a "Nick Eason type" caliber player. Not to mention #99. Thats 5 guys rirgt there.

joe said...

we all realized these cuts were coming, still an odd feeling when it actually happens.

"ben is the man" on offense" not sure if i should laugh or cry about that ! lol from what i read about brown it seems he may be a lead by example guy too.

guys like smith and ward were just fantastic to watch over the years.

Anonymous said...

I think RClark is a leader, Ike, Troy, Brett, Harrison, Woodley, Big Snack....all leaders on D.


Anonymous said...

so let's recap:

hines ward and aaron smith - two former captains, fired for being old and slow

chris kemoeatu - starting LG for four seasons, fired for sub par performance

arnaz battle - special teams captain, fired for being too expensive for his role

chris hoke - primary backup DL, retired

rashard mendenhall - torn ACL and MCL, wont be ready for the season

mike wallace - they can only afford a first round tender (can't afford franchise, can't afford to sign him long term until next year) which means any team can make him an offer (which, even with a modest one, the steelers wont be able to match) and all they give up is their 1st round pick (the interested teams have picks numbered 25+, including the Bengals). he's as good as gone.

james farrior - 37 years old with a big cap figure. He's rumored (but almost certain) to be next. Defensive captain and the ray lewis-esque heart of the defense.

Casey Hampton - starting NT (most important position on the defense), 3rd knee surgery on a torn ACL

worst offseason ever? worst offseason ever.

Steve-O said...

I didn't say DE was a need, I said Ben Grubbs could fill a need and allow them to focus on DE/NT/LB which I believe are going to be the "best available" talent at 24 in the draft.

DD said...

I think it's comical that some people don't think Wallace is gone. He will be a Raven next yr. And the BnG will be screwed

Lance said...

So Wallace is worth a 1st round pick and the money you have to pay him? Maybe the Raiders would pull that, but Baltimore will not make that mistake.

marc said...

talk about going off the deep end.

ward - 4th string WR last year. non factor on offense.

smith - did not play majority of last year. his replacement is a 1st round draft choice that is doing well and improving.

kemo - sucks and a mental midget. his replacement was adequate. obvious area of need for the team.

battle - really, should have no problem finding someone to fill that role.

hoke - great backup, not a great starter, or he would have started for someone else all those years. thanks for the years of service. addition of NT thru draft will solidify this group.

mendy - production fell off. redman took over starting role in many people's eyes. RB group coming back very capable.

hampton - pushed around most of the season anyway. drafting a NT this year a priority anyway. his injury really didn't change anything here.

farrior - again, really? too old, too slow. got beat way too often. thanks for the years of service. LB group is strong and deep. they will be fine.

wallace - steelers will keep wallace. whenever they say they want to keep a player, they keep them. that's been their track record. all these moves are freeing up the big contract for him. and they can cut more as well.

worst offseason ever because your favorite old players are leaving? this team has another group of young stars in the making on both sides of the ball. they will be just fine.

Viktor said...

Seeing how the Steelers have not "hit" on 4+Rnd draft selections is even more of a reason as to why the front office will not hesitate to take that second first round pick. It would be nice to use those picks to move up and get Poe but we need all of our 1-3 Rnd picks.

Cream Corn said...


I couldn't have said it any better. The Steelers are actually doing everything I hoped they would do after the end of this past season. I loved all those players and they were great with the Steelers. But this day had to come. Not the worst off seasons ever. One of the best I think. I'm looking forward to the youth movement in these positions. My only concern is Wallace. i don't want to lose him but if we do at least we have a chance to get a stud in another key position.

Lance said...

Well said marc. The Steelers future looks good from where I sit. The older players and non productive players are leaving and the younger ones are waiting and ready to fill the roles. This team gets it right, they will keep Wallace.

DD said...

I think there will be at least 3 teams that will be willing to give up their 1st rd pick for Wallace AND offer him a fat deal. Ravens, Bengals and Pats will all make offers IMO. I would if I were them. Only Ravens don't have 2 1sts. FOr a top 10 WR that has room to grow? No brainer for them. The question will be if the Steelers have the room to match it. With all their needs, not sure they can afford it.

Anonymous said...

Why the heck would Baltimore go for Wallace when they have a far cheaper option in Torrey Smith? They also have quite a few FAs to re-sign themselves.

Dale Lolley said...

I will guarantee you that Wallace isn't joining the Ravens. They don't want to give up a first-round pick and the money it would take to sign Wallace when they have to sign Ngata and Rice to new - expensive deals. Can't afford it.

In fact, I would say the odds on Wallace not going anywhere are about 90 percent. With the moves they have made, the Steelers have the ability to match any offer made to him - assuming it's not something ridiculous. And New England isn't going to do that since it has to franchise Welker.

Cincinnati is too cheap and already has its deep threat. That leaves only San Francisco.

Jim said...

Steelers fans are always thinking other teams are only looking at their players and no one else. The worry a couple years ago was someone was DEFINITELY going to sign Redman if they cut him (they did, and safely signed him to the practice squad). Someone may tender an offer to Wallace but it will have to be pretty high for the Steelers not to match. If that's the case, they'll sign Cotchery to a deal, be able to keep around both Brown and Sanders if they want and have grab a sure-fire starter in the first round like they always do. Even though losing the best wide receiver would hurt, it's the position most flush with young talent, so it's manageable.

Cortez Allen was a fourth rounder last year and he looks like he could be an Ike replacement in a few years. How many other players were able to cover Gronkowski when he was healthy? Not to mention the Steelers have had success in rounds later than 4 (see Brown, Antonio). You can't hit on every pick, but the important part is bringing in a few contributors every year and keeping around the best ones. Steelers do that to perfection.

Patrick said...

Chi is my sleeper team for wallace

adamg said...

I've heard from a friend in the Philadelphia area that the Eagles will allow DeSean Jackson to leave, given the problems he's had there with attitude and other things, and target Wallace as his replacement.

kyle said...

The eagles have already franchised Jackson.

marc said...

you might want to tell your friend to stop drinking in the morning.

Anonymous said...

Idk that I would count out the Bengals, if they are truly $40-60 Mil under the cap like I have read throughout various articles, then what's stopping them from stealing Wallace away? Their #2 WR is Simpson and he just got arrested again for a drug charge so WR may be a need for them and it would also take a playmaker away from the Steelers. If I'm Cinci I'm going after a wide receiver no matter what this offseason to go along with AJ Green and also help Andy Dalton progress as a signal caller. Couple those needs with the fact that Cinci has TWO first round picks, thus throwing out the "not wanting to waste their only pick" argument we can raise with other teams. I believe we will do everything in our power to keep Wallace, and I hope we do..but anyone who calls himself apart of a group called "Young Money" is not looking to give hometown discounts.

Anonymous said...

Hey at least now no one will say Tomlin is winning with Cowher's guys anymore...we'll see what happens.

BillinDC said...

Steelers haven't hit on enough picks past R4? By my count we have seven from the last two drafts on the roster including Allen and Brown. And that doesn't include the undrafted free agents.

To knock the Steelers on player evaluation is silly. Unless you think every pick should be a starter.

That isn't gonna happen.

The Steelers have tended to keep vets around while developing there replacements. I hate to see some of these guys go, but it is time.

Outside of Rod Woodson they have pretty much nailed when to let them go.

And this will still be a tough camp for late round picks to find a spot.

These guys are good. That is why the Steelers are competitive year in and year out.

And they will be solid next year, too.

Patrick said...

Some bozo wrote an article in a Philly paper that the eagles should leave deseam and get wallace

So I'd assume that's where that came from

BillinDC said...

As for Cinci, Mike Brown has a different view of the cap: how much more do I need to spend to hit the minimum?

Nate said...

I would be completely shocked if Baltimore made a move for Wallace -

1) Torrey Smith is essentially the exact same player. They don't need two straight line receivers.

2) They just franchised Ray Rice, and need to work out a deal with Flacco. It's not like they have the luxury of a lot of cap room

3) They would be giving a first round pick to a division rival.

4) The Steelers are slowing freeing up the space needed to match any offer made to Wallace.

Dan said...

"worst offseason ever? worst offseason ever."

Someone apparently forgot about that offseason when our Super Bowl winning QB was almost arrested for rape, was lynhced in the media, and was suspended for 4 games.

That was a bad offseason. This isn't that bad.

Dan said...


What about the Browns for Walalce? Do you think that they'd sacrfice their #4 overall to sign Wallace?

Anonymous said...

Leadership they lost indeed, but isn't one of the motto's "Next man up"? Sad to say but time for these guys to move on. Looking fwd to 2012.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how the complaint last year was "we are way too old", now we finally trim some grey hairs and yet people act so surprised. Be careful what you wish for I guess...

Anonymous said...

Casey should be on that list of cut players, but that isn't likely to happen because they have no one else with veteran experience and no one to mentor a rookie draft pick.

I have been adamant for the past four years that the Steelers needed to address the N.T. position for the future. Now they find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. Casey is in his mid thirties. He just underwent his third A.C.L. surgery on the same knee and despite what Kevin Colbert says about the possibly of him playing when the season starts, that ain't happening. We're talking about Casey, I-hate-working-out-in-the-off-season, Hampton here. By the time he's medically cleared to play he'll be so fat and out of shape that it'll take at least half the season to get his lazy, fat butt ready to play. His only viable option for employment will be as a Macy's Thankgiving Day balloon. Hokie is retired and the only other true NT left is Steve McLendon, a practice squad player with a couple of games under his belt.

Tim said...


I mostly agree with you that this offseason is not so bad, but you're wrong about Hoke. I won't use the 18-1 starting record to prove he was a great starter, since there are so many other factors and he's not a QB, but he was extremely good, and in fact almost as good as Hampton. He absolutely could have started somewhere else if he wanted to, and gotten more money for it. He chose to backup Casey in Pittsburgh. Some people make those choices.

Anonymous said...

Casey is finished. He would have been the first player that I would have cut. He doesn't hold the point of attack any longer, and hasn't for a couple years.

Tim said...


Casey hasn't been holding the point of attack for a couple of years? Based on what? For the same reason Mendenhall is soft, because other people are saying that?

Casey hasn't been quite as dominant as he was in his prime, but to say he can't hold the point of attack is a little crazy. For just one example, he took Nick Mangold apart just a year ago, supposedly the best center in the game at the time. A subpar center, or even an average one, wouldn't be able to plow over him all day the way Casey did.

marc said...

i disagree. hoke was rarely ever as dominant as hampton. and i do not ever remember any other teams clamoring to bring in a 3-4 NT (hard to find) with the name of hoke during free agency.

i do agree, he could have started for other teams. but not good teams looking for a top notch starter.

Tim said...

Subpar nose tackle**, not center, two comments up.

Whack said...

Question: Is it known if the Steelers are currently negotiating with Mike Wallace...

or are they waiting for another team to make a first move on Wallace when free agency starts?