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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Steelers release Colon, sign Gradkowski

The Steelers on Tuesday released guard Willie Colon with a June 1 designation and signed free agent quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.

The move to release Colon with the June 1 designation means the Steelers won't see the $5 million in savings until after June 1. But it also means they don't have to play the game of telling Colon not to show up at offseason workouts.

They can also move forward knowing they will have his money available in the future - likely to sign draft picks.

Gradkowski's signing means the Steelers are done with Byron Leftwich - which was a given - and possibly Charlie Batch - which wasn't.

The Steelers could still make a move to bring back the 38-year-old Batch if they don't get a quarterback in the draft.

In other news, running back Rashard Mendenhall signed a one-year deal with Arizona, reuniting him with Bruce Arians there.

It's probably a good signing for both. Mendenhall gets a year - more than a year removed from his knee surgery - to prove he's better than he was in 2012, while the Cardinals get a replacement for Beanie Wells.

The Steelers are also reportedly interested in the oft-injured Wells - at least according to ESPN. But considering they already have a pair of comparable runners in Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman, I don't see the fit.

Meanwhile, Keenan Lewis is heading to New Orleans for a meeting with his hometown Saints.


Anonymous said...

Question regarding June 1 designation. I understand the team doesn't realize the full savings of his release until June 1st. But do they still get the $1.2m cap savings they would have if just outright released, and the rest on June 1st? Or is all cap treatment deferred until then?

Dale Lolley said...

No. It's the same as if they released him June 1.

Anonymous said...

Bruce Gradkowski makes Tim Tebow look like Tom Brady. What is the point of this waste of money when any rookie QB can complete 52% of his passes and turn the ball over just like Gradkowski does.

John Kang said...

Any word on Jerrod Johnson? He looked pretty good in preseason last year, albeit against 3rd Stringers.

Anonymous said...

I feel ya on the gradkowski signing. I hate to keep saying it but all this wasted money could've been used to lock up Keenan Lewis. Yes I know we have Cortez Allen to replace him but I'll take Ike, Lewis, and Allen over Ike, Allen, and gay all day and twice on Sunday's (you like how I did that?) if we kept them all together all we need is an outside rush LB early in the draft and our D is set. Dumb signing today. Keep batch, draft a qb late in the draft. It's really that simple. Wasted money

Easley said...

I like the Gradkowski signing. I mean, he is what he is... a backup QB. That's what we paid for, that's what we got. I didn't happen to see any Pro Bowl-caliber backup quarterbacks on the market. He's gutty and experienced, sort of like Jon Kitna. Would I be happy if he had to carry us long-term? Hell no, but the same goes for Batch. Hopefully we'll use a pick in April to draft a young QB to groom.

Henigin said...

Dale - any feel for how closely the Steelers are watching the signed/lost count of Free Agents for the purposes of compensatory picks? By my count they've signed two (Gradkowski, Gay), and lost two (Wallace, Mendenhall, likely a couple of more to follow). I'm guessing they're more concerned with the quality of the team this year and how actions impact that, but am definitely curious how much the compensatory pick process wades into the thinking.

Regarding the signing of Gradkowski, whoever said that was money that could have been spent on Lewis is forgetting that the Steelers would need a backup QB on the payroll regardless of who it is, and the fact that no numbers have been reported for Gradkowski likely means they're not that high.

Anonymous said...

Not all free agents signed and lost qualify. Just those who reached the market thru an expired contract. Released players don't qualify, so Gay doesn't impact. And a UFA has to be above a certain pay threshold to also qualify, and I doubt Gradkowski meets it.

But given how many they stand to lose, I think Colbert will be cognizant of the types of FAs he brings in, so as not to lose a potentially high comp next year. Meaning any FAs will likely be guys who were cut or bargain basements. Don't have much to work with anyways. Tho they probably could afford to splurge on one who might cancel out Mendenhall's $2.5m. Would have to check, but I'd think that's currently worth about a sixth.

Jerrod Johnson was throwing at A&Ms pro day the other day. Available. Arm is said to be stronger/healed.

Anonymous said...

The steelers have a back up on the roster, he beat the super bowl champs in their place remember? I think what was meant by that was the steelers could have drafted a qb in the draft instead of paying Bruce G. I like what Grodkowski brings to the table but agree with saving money to sign Lewis.

Dale Lolley said...

Eh, I don't know. He was miscast in Oakland. Not a great deep passer, which is all they do.
When he played in Cleveland, he had no talent around him.
He's a viable backup. Certainly better than Leftwich. Won't get hurt tying his shoes.

They'll get plenty in comp picks. The Gradkowski signing isn't going to affect that much.

Anonymous said...

Both CBatch and Lefty are FAs. neither are currently on roster.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Gradkowski beat those same 'champs' too. Just sayin.

kyle said...

Which late round quarterback is going to be better than Gradkowski this year?

And the grooming thing almost never pans out. Aaron Rodgers is the only quality starter in the league who is playing for the team who drafted him and who sat for more than a year. Plus he was a first round pick.

I won't be surprised if they draft a quarterback at some point but I don't think it's a good idea. He won't play special teams. He won't come in for sub-packages. And if all goes according to play he won't start a single game. All so someday maybe he can take over for Ben? Or four years from now the Steelers can try to parlay him into a higher pick? Some return on investment there.

Anonymous said...

so the bar is pretty set up for lewis isn't it? Derek Cox, drafted same year, tons more ints and starts, gets 20 million over four years, so around 5 mill anually

Chris Houston, better than both, is at 5 mill also. DRC is at 5 mill also, but just a one year deal

Don't think Keenan can beat that. 4 mill at most. Can the steelers afford that? Think unless he really wants to stay in new orleans we will have him back for cheap

Joe Jones said...

Lewis is as good as gone. Even if he signs for below-market, it won't be here.

We can only afford league min. guys.

I personally am a huge fan of giving Beanie Wells a chance in rotation with Redman and Dwyer.
That three headed monster doesn't look all that bad to me. Sure, we don't have that explosive yard chewer, but what we would have is a lot of experience and three guys who can hold onto the ball.

I think we wait until '14 draft to nab a RB. This year, there are 32 teams and one overrated Eddie Lacey.

Put Dale behind Bama's O-line vs the ND defense, and watch him run for 80 and 2 TDs.

7th round might be worth a look at Lattimore, but he wont play until '14 either, so I say all-in on Beanie Wells.

Dale Lolley said...

I don't know Joe. My knees aren't what they used to be. Lost my explosion.

At 4 to 5 million per, the Steelers could re-sign Lewis.

Four years, 20 million, eight million signing bonus. Vet minimum salary the first year, plus two million in bonus means he counts $2.75 or so against the cap this year. That's something they could handle.

Joe Jones said...

But they already signed Gay. Would we then just immediately cut Gay? or keep him against the cap for no real reason besides depth?

I don't see how Lewis fits into the plan anymore. And if Mgmt really thinks Allen is just as capable as Lewis, then I see no problem with out current secondary.

The key in '13 is acknowledging that this isn't going to be a year where we are fully loaded and charged. '13 is a season where we are loading and stocking the system. So having 3 NFL capable corners is something we can't take for granted, even though it's not a breathetaking group.

If we want to succeed in '13 we need to revamp our skill players. WR, RB, and possibly TE.
Unfortunately one of our first two picks will have to be an OLB, making it necessary to find a WR/RB in free agency.
Also unfortunate is that we can only sign UFA's for cheap low-value deals.
Perhaps they already did this, signing Plaxico, and will focus a draft pick on an RB.
I'm hoping that it's not, and they sign high-ceiling Wells to hold us off until next season.

And as much as we've seen of Redman and Dwyer '13 could be the deciding factor in which one, if neither, moves forward with us.
Wells could add another option if the answer is still obviously neither after this season.