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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Colbert fires the first shot

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said today that pretty much anything is on the table in regards to the team's roster following an 8-8 season.

"If we don't change 8-8, if we don't change the roster that produced 8-8, we'd be silly to expect a better result if we've got the same group of guys," he said. "We can't box ourselves in and limit what we potentially could do."

That could even mean stepping outside the box and diving into free agency.

Certainly, the Steelers have cap issues right now. They are roughly $11 million over next year's cap, which is estimated to be at $121 million.

But the team has plenty of wiggle room to get under that number.

One move I could see this team making in free agency? Acquiring a starting running back, or at least a back who can help carry the load for whatever rookie the team drafts.

Colbert made it apparent he was definitely not happy with the team's production at running back, where Rashard Mendenhall is an unrestricted free agent and Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are heading into restricted free agency.

I get the feeling the team will tender Redman but not Dwyer, who the coaching staff wasn't too happy with as a "feature" runner when he was given a shot.

 I don't think we're talking about breaking the bank and bringing in 30-year-old Steven Jackson, or even 28-year-old Reggie Bush. That's too expensive and you don't help things by signing running backs who are near 30 and have a lot of mileage.

But a mid-level free agent such as Detroit's Joique Bell or Kansas City's Peyton Hillis, could be a nice player to pair with a young runner.

Bell, 5-11, 220, is a restricted free agent, but the 26-year-old also was undrafted. Detroit has salary cap issues, just as the Steelers do, and may be unwilling to put a high tender on Bell to retain his services. He's the kind of multi-talented runner/receiver the Steelers could use in Todd Haley's offense.

Hillis, 6-1, 250, is more of a banger, but the 26-year-old would be a nice complimentary back to a smaller speed-type runner as he was this season in Kansas City.


Eric T said...

Bell might be an option, but pass on Hillis. Not the most popular guy in the locker room, plus always seems to be hurt.

I wonder how much it would cost to trade for somebody like Chris Ivory on the Saints. If cheap, I think he might be worth a look.

Anonymous said...

Ivory's a RFA, so they could technically just sign him if they were willing to give up the draft pick.

He isn't exactly a guy that's bullet proof either. He runs violent, but pays a price for it.

Anonymous said...

Joique Bell is an exclusive rights FA. Doesn't that pretty much mean it's super easy for Detroit to retain him?

Doubt he goes anyplace.

Anonymous said...

What about Jackie Battle? He was with Haley in KC.

Patrick said...

Is Shonn Greene going to be out of their price range? Or is he restricted?

I'd take him over every name mentioned so far.

Zipposteelers said...

As a Long time fan, I Hope they come up with players that are hungry and motivated to win. After the chargers game it was obvious some players don't have the desire or talent to make this team a SB winner.
Coaching needs to be accountable..

ibygeorge said...

Hillis's 2011 season was better than anything Steeler fans have seen in a while from their RB's. What happened to him in 2012? Was it just being on a bad team or did he flameout. Sounds like a Steeler, plays RB, DB, and TE.

ibygeorge said...

FB not DB. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

What happened was that 2011 was probably an aberration for Hillis.

Anonymous said...

2010, even.

marc said...

forget hillis. i live outside cleveland and he is a total head case. he basically faked injuries and illnesses at different times because of disagreements with the coaches, general manager, and/or teamates. he is not a popular guy in the locker room.

that's a shame about dwyer. i thought he had potential, but obviously can't handle the spotlight.

Anonymous said...

joe said...

after reading what colbert said, it doesn't necessarily mean huge changes. heck, every year there are big changes on nearly every roster.

imo it's time to stop the renegotiating and basically kicking the can down the road to deal with later. it would suck to loose harrison especially, but if they have to push a ton of cap space into the future, don't do it.

heyward and mclendon, it's your time. all the young guys on o-line, same thing. if max is willing to take another low contract to start, sign him he is the best option for another year.

with arians in indy and the cap space they have, wallace is headed there for big money and will do very well with luck. imo no way he is signing with us. hope that doesn't mean his bud lewis isn't going to sign here either though.

glad someone admits dwyer and redman aren't the answer. dwyer would be good if he was conditioned but the dude can't run three times in a row. pathetic. we all see woodley isn't earning the $$ time for a new off season program for him. polo said he now realizes he has to do some different off season training too. maybe he can play in more than a handful of games next year. plex...pffft the young guys may look up to him (don't know why) but they dropped more and more passes after he showed up.

i'm not sure why the cap isn't going up much the last few years ??

marc said...

this is a gonna be a fun offseason. i look forward to see who they bring in via FA and draft. i actually hope they trade up in the draft if the opportunity presents itself. several new faces should also lead to a competitive training camp.

if there are any coaches that get fired, any ideas who they would be?

Anonymous said...

LMAO signing Bell or Hillis would be very stupid

Mark said...

At, they were tying in Big Ben to Colbert's statements. The author admits that the Steelers are unlikely to uproot a QB of his caliber, but I'm wondering if his salary is eating up enough of the cap space that the front office would at least consider a trade to another team. (That is assuming they could find a replacement with 80% of Ben's talent, at 20% of his salary.)

Dale Lolley said...

According to the info I have, Bell is simply restricted.

And the Steelers are not going to cut Roethlisberger. That's silly talk.

Colbert was clearly not happy with the status quo at running back. In fact, he said as much.

Anonymous said...

Would love to see the Steelers dip into the free agency pool, (Steven Jackson would wear the hell out of the black n gold) but i'd rather use the money to keep Foster and draft one of the top RB's in the first round. Essentially start over with a workhorse. I miss having a feature back.

Pistol said...

I think Hillis in the right environment would become a fan favorite with his style of running here. Being on a winning team helps A LOT too.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Redman and Dwyer is that they are too alike. Tough but slow. A feature guy needs to be more balanced.

We need someone with some speed but that can still run between the tackles.

I sawthat guy Bell play a few games for the lions. He got some speed and he would be a good pickup if we didn't have to give up too much.

Viktor said...

I think Hillis was just trying to protect himself with Cleaveland as far as trying to secure a contract. My opinion is he was probably told he would get about 50% if the carries in KC and when Charles proved he was healthy Hillis was just a backup. I would take a chance on Hillis; still young and big upside in my opinion.
On a side note I remember wanting the Steelers to draft Jackson and they drafted Big Ben instead.

Hopper said...

I like Bell, a lot, but I too heard that he is an Exclusive Rights FA. All Detroit has to do is tender him at the three-year vet minimum and that's it, he's pretty much stuck there for another year unless he wants to quit football. That said, he seems to be in Schwartz's doghouse and is totally under-used/under-appreciated in Detroit. And Colbert does seem to have a thing for Detroit players.

As an aside, the guy's a 26 year old RB and only has only two years of NFL experience. Here's hoping he can escape from Detroit & Schwartz before it's too late.

I get a sense from Colbert's recent comments that we might see the Steelers a bit more active in free agency this year, provided they're able to work some cap magic. I think it would be a good thing if they got a bit more aggressive with signing free agents. Nothing too crazy, but remember, Farrior & Clark were free agent signings, to name just two.