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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Steelers sign McCain, will host Heyward-Bey

The Steelers continued a very busy offseason Tuesday by signing free agent cornerback Brice McCain to a one-year deal.

McCain, who was basically the nickel corner for Houston the past few years, will count just $635,000 against the team's salary cap.

His signing leaves the Steelers with less than $500,000 in remaining cap space. But that won't stop the team from continuing to shop.

Wednesday, veteran wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey is expected to visit.

The Steelers can likely fit Heyward-Bey under their cap without making any other moves if he's willing to sign a one-year deal at the minimum as McCain did. Pittsburgh gave McCain a $730,000 contract with a $65,000 signing bonus.

But per NFL rules, teams can get a cap discount for veteran players that lowers their cap hit slightly. And he moves another salary out of the top 51 salaries, for which the basement is currently $420,000.

McCain, 27, is expected to battle William Gay for the nickel position while also playing special teams and providing veteran depth.

Heyward-Bey would be an interesting signing if the Steelers can make that happen.

The 6-2, 219-pound speedster is a former first-round pick of Oakland who spent 2013 with Indianapolis.

His best season came in 2011 when he caught 64 passes for 975 yards and four touchdowns. He had 29 catches for 309 yards and a score in 2013 for Indianapolis.

@ The Steelers hosted a pair of my draft favorites today, bringing in Ole Miss speedy wideout Donte Moncrief and Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk.

Moncrief is considered a second-round talent, though I wouldn't be shocked if he went at the end of the first round, while Seastrunk is a third or fourth-round guy.


datruth4life said...

Dale, DHB wouldn't be a bad minimum vet signing for the Steelers. He's no starter but he apparently played well on special teams for Indy last year, even serving as a gunner late in the year. He was a returner in college so the Steelers could do worse than signing a vet big WR that can play special teams and run a 4.26 in the 40.

I still think some decent 3-4 DE options will be available after the draft and early in camp when teams start releasing vets and going with cheaper alternatives. I think this is a draft where the Steelers will double down on DTs, WRs & CBs.

Anonymous said...

steelers turned mike wallace into a star when all he ever did was fun faster than everyone else, DHB can do the same maybe.

Anonymous said...

run too

Anonymous said...

DHB would be fine as a 5th/6th receiver. Wouldn't even trust him as a 4th these days. But hey, competition always helps

Anonymous said...

I like what the Steelers have done this off season: signed young players with some experience to fill in holes or provide decent back up. With all these signings, it gives the Steelers more flexibility in the draft to choose the best available player or move around if conditions allow it.

Dale Lolley said...

Heyward-Bey started 11 games for Indianapolis last season. Just FYI
The Colts made the playoffs.

Steve-O said...

Dale, this has to be the most aggressive I've seen the Steelers in recent history. Is this an indication that the front office is on the hot seat or just good business? Also, do you see them being this aggressive in the draft and perhaps moving up?

Patrick said...

Any WR that can a run a 4.3 and is about 6 foot should come running to play with Big Ben. Everyone knows he loves bombing the ball when he has a guy who can get downfield.

If DHB signs, I expect he'll have about 6 chances at a Wallace type TD. The question is whether he can land them. I wouldn't mind seeing him line-in on 3rd and 13.

phil said...

i think the front office is being forced into an aggressive (for them) offseason with free agency because of a couple of terrible drafts. normal order of business is develop your own talent, draft well, dont overpay, and stay out of free agency. unfortunately when almost none of your 2008 or 2009 draft class remain on the team, you gotta go get some new blood. the effects of bad drafts are felt 4-5 years down the line, not right away.

marc said...

phil, good point and I think you are dead on. I do like the fact most of these are short term deals. it will give them more flexibility in the coming years.

would also like to see DHB on the team with a shot to compete. anyone that can legitimately stretch the field is a bonus for the run game.

Anonymous said...

It's more reactionary, imo. I don't think it's so much to do with being aggressive or a new attitude or getting serious or hot hinies. They fill a lot of holes because they have a lot of holes. They turned over nearly a third of last year's 53. Given what their roster projects to next offseason, expect more of the same then. Age not backfilled thru the draft, some residual core/starters/contributors, and the rest made up of short contract street FAs and UDFAs, you're gonna have a high volume of turnover. Years past they were 25-35 deep every offseason with core players, starters, and reliable contributors. Wasn't many job openings. Now? Maybe 15 heading into this offseason, and a bunch of jags and suspects.

Dale Lolley said...

I think they've been more aggressive for a number of reasons. A. They finally had the cap space to do so because the cap went up for the first time in four years. B. They had to fill some holes because they weren't able to re-sign some of their own guys because of that cap stagnation. C. They have obviously had a number of veterans retire/not be retained in the past two seasons and needed to improve depth.

But everything, at least for this team, comes back to point A. The cap stagnated just as they were coming off their third Super Bowl appearance in six seasons. The front office had worked hard to wrap up the guys who had been instrumental in those Super Bowl appearances. But it didn't leave money for anyone else.

Yes, they have also missed on some picks. That happens, especially when you're picking at the end of each round year after year.

No, I don't think anyone is on the hot seat.

Anonymous said...

they didn't "miss some picks" in 2008 and 2009. They blew it, two years in a row.

2008: RB Rashard Mendenhall, WR Limas Sweed, LB Bruce Davis, OT Tony Hills, QB Dennis Dixon, LB Mike Humpal, S Ryan Mundy

Only Mendenhall can be argued as a good pick, and didn't get a second contract. This was a terrible draft.

2009: Ziggy Hood, Kraig Urbik, Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis, Joe Burnett, Frank Summers, Ra'Shon Harris, AQ Shipley and David Johnson

Better decisions and 2 starting quality players in Wallace and Lewis, plus a stop-gap starter in Ziggy Hood. Wallace would have been let go for that asking price in any year, regardless of the cap. To your point Dale, Keenan Lewis is the only real argument you can make for a player who would have been resigned had the cap gone up, but it certainly seems like he was going to Louisiana one way or another regardless.

You blow it two drafts in a row, you get 2 8-8 seasons and have to go get a bunch of free agents when those draft picks should be re-signing. No amount of cap room would have helped overcome two terrible years in a row.

Slab said...

Getting Hood, Wallace, and Lewis in the 2009 draft make that an excellent draft- the opposite of "blowing it". Wallace in a redraft would have gone in the 1st round and got $60 million on the open market. Mike Wallace wasn't a bad draft pick, he was an amazing draft pick that another team then overpaid for.
The Steelers drafted Keenan Lewis in the 3rd round and he was such a bad pick the Saints lured him away with 26 million dollars. Some indicate he wouldn't have taken the same money from Pittsburgh because he wanted to go home to New Orleans.

This Steelers fan hopes every draft is as good as 2009.

Anonymous said...

the quality of the draft 4-5 years down the line is determined, in part, by how many of those players are still on the team.

ZERO from these two drafts. None.

Slab said...

"Anonymous said...
the quality of the draft 4-5 years down the line is determined, in part, by how many of those players are still on the team."

The only time that's true is if your goal is to say the Steeler's 2009 draft was bad. For everyone else the quality of the draft is determined by the quality of the football players drafted. Drafting starters, drafting players that perform above their draft positions, bang for the buck- that's the way the quality of a draft is measured. From the 2009 draft, the Steelers got 4 starters including 1 probowler. In no way can the fact that Wallace signed for crazy money with the Dolphins somehow make any less of an outstanding draftpick. Using that logic, Brian Hartline was a better draft pick than Wallace. After all, he's still with the Dolphins.....

Anonymous said...

well thats why i said "in part" and not "the single determining factor"

that "part" is much larger for a team that builds through the draft. i.e. the steelers. my point isnt to say that the 2009 draft was bad (though it was) but instead explaining what is forcing the steelers into an out-of-character busy offseason

Slab said...

I will agree 2008 (in hindsight) was a bad draft. Although, everyone from draft pundits to fans, lauded it at the time as a great draft for the Steelers.

2009 is a different story. No reasonable arguement can, in my opinion, be made to a call a draft that produces 3 starters and one contributor (David Johnson) including 1 pro-bowler, a bust. I would argue it was one of the best drafts the Steelers have had in years. The reason there are no players left on the team is, in part, because Mike Wallace and Keenan Lewis performed so well, the Steelers couldn't afford them. Go back and look at the 2009 NFL draft (I'm looking at Wikipedia's page). 256 players selected, 15 probowlers- 15. 6 of the 15 were off the board in the first round before the Steelers pick. So of the 225 players the Steelers had a shot at with the 32nd pick and their other picks, 9 became probowlers and one of them was Mike Wallace. Only 6 of the 15 are still on the team that drafted them. Look down the list of names. Most of them aren't in the league. 7 of the Steelers 9 picks are still in the league. That was a good draft. It's not doing this years Steeler team any good. But it was a good draft.

Henigin said...

I've said this before, but I really hope the Steelers draft a big WR not named Kelvin Benjamin. Montcrief, Davante Adams, or Jordan Matthews are all great candidates, but with Kelvin Benjamin being almost 2 yrs older than most of these other guys and having mediocre production, I'd much rather have someone other than Benjamin.