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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Would Shazier have been drafted?

Sean Spence will make his first career start in the NFL on Sunday, an amazing feat for a guy who suffered a devastating knee injury a couple of years ago in the preseason.

It's been a long recovery for Spence, but it's obviously been worth it for the former third-round draft pick and the Steelers, as well.

The team could have easily given up on him at any number of times.

And you could argue that the Steelers will be better off right now with Spence in the lineup instead of rookie Ryan Shazier. After all, Spence spent the past two seasons not only rehabbing, but learning his duties in the Steelers' defense.

For Shazier, that learning process is ongoing.

Spence's recovery also begs the question: If the Steelers had known in the spring that Spence was going to make a complete recovery, would they still have drafted Shazier?

Shazier is an amazing athlete. He's the fastest linebacker in the NFL and a possible future star.

But the Steelers liked Spence enough a few years ago to select him in the third round.

@ The Steelers didn't figure on having to replace Ike Taylor until next season. But his broken forearm certain changed that quickly.

And it left the team a little short at a very important position in more ways than one.

First and foremost, Taylor and Cortez Allen were being counted on to play well this season. Losing Taylor for an extended period of time certainly affects the team's depth at a position that was already thin.

Secondly, the team's options at cornerback to replace him aren't guys who can bring the same size as the 6-1 Taylor.

And that could be a bigger problem, particularly this week against Tampa Bay, which has 6-5 rookie Mike Evans and 6-4 Vincent Jackson at wide receiver.

Pittsburgh's current options include Brice McCain and Antwon Blake, a pair of 5-9 corners, and 5-11 B.W. Webb.

Blake was signed last season when he was released by Jacksonville, while McCain came over from Houston as a free agent in the offseason.

Webb, meanwhile, has only been with the team a few weeks after being released by Dallas at the end of the preseason.

McCain, a sixth-year pro, has the most experience of the group, with 10 career starts. But he has worked largely in the slot since joining the Steelers, and the team seems intent on keeping William Gay inside in its nickel defense.

Gay will play outside in the base defense, but will likely slide back inside on passing downs.

The guess here is that the Steelers could use the next couple of games to test out both Blake and Webb on the outside and see which one does the better job.

It's not ideal, but if the Steelers are intent on keeping Gay in the slot on passing downs, it's the best scenario - at least for now.

@ When asked today if he thought linebacker James Harrison would dress Sunday against Tampa Bay, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau first said he had to defer to head coach Mike Tomlin on that subject.

But, LeBeau did add, "I don' think Mike brought him in not to dress him."


Dan said...

What's Bryant McFadden up to? Since the Steelers are bringing back former players, why not add him? I'm only half joking.

Also, I wonder whether the Steelers will give Derek Cox a look? He's a W&M guy, he did well for Jacksonville (though not with the Chargers), he's over 6 feet tall.

Dale Lolley said...

They'll go with the guys they have on the roster for now. If that doesn't look good, then they'll start looking at outside options.

Snarky said...

I have wondered since Shazier was drafted if he would have been the pick if Kyle Fuller was still there. I questioned this pick when we made it but that 2nd preseason game made me a believer. I just hope he gets well soon and puts together some regular season games that are just as good.

Anonymous said...

It could be worse, we could have the Redskins defense...

Anonymous said...

Are you suggesting the Steelers might not follow their draft board based on need? Or that need factors in draft grades and order?

And even if Kyle Fuller was available when the Steelers picked in Round Two, they still wouldn't have selected him. They had a higher grade on Tuitt than they did Fuller who was the 5th CB on their board.

marc said...

the CB issue is somewhat concerning. I expect they (the defense) will lean towards their "tackle the catch" approach and hope the opposing offense shoots itself in the foot. as history has shown, that is fine against bad teams and not very successful against good teams. they are fortunate to have TB and Jacksonville coming up.

I was somewhat skeptical of the shazier pick at first for two reasons. I wasn't sure he has the size to stuff the run in the middle. also, living in ohio I watched plenty of buckeye's games and he had a propensity to be a hothead and draw stupid personal fouls. I think those two things are still "to be determined". however, he clearly is an exceptional athlete and the potential is through the roof. if the steelers are confident enough to start him right out of the gate, then I think we're watching a great player in the making.

Dale Lolley said...

My post wasn't made to rip the Shazier pick at all. I think he can be special. But if, for example, Spence had showed he was 100 percent back when he practiced in the middle of last season, I don't know that they take Shazier. Maybe they would have gone corner. Maybe defensive end. Maybe WR.

Dan said...

This is early, but if Spence and Shazier prove to both be very good ILBs,is Timmons the odd man out? His contract is huge, and he's never quite lived up to his draft billing.

If they could re-sign Spence to a team friendly deal, it might be worth considering letting Timmons go in order to free up some of the LB money to shore up the secondary.

Anonymous said...

You can say that again. Timmons has not been a big time playmaker considered that we pay him top 5 ILB money.

That's how you get 8-8 teams that are in cap hell. Like the Cowboys and now Steelers.

Anonymous said...

What if I would of picked all the correct numbers in the Lotto?

The cards fell and we got one hell of a future inside backer. IMO

I'm not saying your post is ripping him, but for the common folk it would seem as though you didn't agree with the draft. I for one enjoy your spring training blog a little better. It seems like there is more optimism in your writing.

Next man up!

Pitt 31
Bucs 10


marc said...

I didn't think dale was ripping anyone. just pointing out what might have been different.

coming off that embarrassing loss, you know TB is going to be jacked up (at least the should be). the steelers are the better team, but you never know in the nfl. I hope they come with a heavy dose of the run game and keep hitting the high percentage passes. control the ball and take pressure off your injured defense. steelers should win by at least 13.

Theosa said...

I agree with post by Dan that if Spence plays out and remains healthy, Timmons might be the odd man out.

Now on Steelers Bucs game;

Up until Atlanta game Bucs were competitive in their previous two games, they lost 20-14 to Carolina and 19-17 to St. Louis. So they are not as bad as their 0-3 record suggests. They did lose their starting QB for Steelers game though but their primary RB Martin would play this week. Having rested, I think their defense will play much better than their last outing and if they can create some turnovers, they can make this game very interesting. This game has a trap game written all over it but Steelers should be able to beat the Bucs with a backup QB that is not very mobile. I think after a slow start Steelers will pull this game away in second half. Blount must be pumped to perform in this game against his former team and might have a big game. Steelers win 27-20.

Eric T said...

This is cray talk. Timmons was basically the defensive MVP last year while Spence has yet to start a game.

Cutting really good players in their primes is a great way to get a high draft pick, regardless of how well their backup plays.

Anonymous said...

Timmons isn't going anywhere. You guys are nuts sometimes. Spence can't do what Timmons can do anyways. Shazier probably could a few years from now when he bulks up. Vince Williams is Timmons replacement while Spence is Shaziers. Spence won't even come into the game over Vince Williams if Shazier is healthy and Timmons gets injured.

Theosa said...

Not really crazy talk, just a hypothetical scenario where Spence and Shazier stay healthy and paly really well in near future and an aging Timmons’ contract is up, what the Steelers would do? Ben is sure to get a huge contract and there might be some cap causalities. For now Timmons is their best linebacker.

marc said...

on a separate note, llamar Woodley 3 games into the season:

3 tackles (1 solo), 3 QB hurries and nothing else.


Theosa said...

That is sweet! Woodley had become a slob with Steelers, good riddance. I hope Harrison eventually surpasses him.

kyle said...

Regarding Woodley, it might have something to do with the Raiders being second to last in defending the run and being fourth best against the pass (as far as yards). Seems like teams are running all over them, so he probably isn't getting many pass rushing opportunities.

Not that he's completely absolved, as a DE stopping the run is still his responsibility and he never excelled at it.

While looking it up I noticed that the Jaguars are giving up the most yards per game rushing AND passing. You don't see that too often.

Theosa said...

Kyle, makes you wonder if it is the LeBeau schemes that make some players look so good? I noticed when they go to another team they are not the same players anymore. How’s Hood doing? He might be an exception though since he was more of a 4-3 fit.

Anonymous said...

"While looking it up I noticed that the Jaguars are giving up the most yards per game rushing AND passing. You don't see that too often."

That's because they decided it would be a good idea to give Ziggy Hood starter money. He's in a rotational role now and still sucking.

Eric T said...

Ben is sure to get a huge contract and there might be some cap causalities

Fwiw, Ben's extension will likely lower his Cap number, providing relief instead of casualties.

kyle said...

I haven't watched any Jags games so I can't say how Hood is playing (he does only have two tackles in three games though) but when you are giving up the most yardage against the run and the pass through three games then the problem is way deeper than Ziggy Hood.

I thought they overpaid him but that he would probably play slightly better as an interior player. It seems I was wrong about him playing slightly better so far but they definitely overpaid unless he has a remarkable turnaround.

Dale Lolley said...

I'm not ripping the Shazier pick at all. I think he's going to be a special player. But if Spence turns into the player they thought he would be when they took him in the third round, would it have been necessary to take Shazier. Or could they have taken, for example, Kelvin Bejamin, who also looks like he could be special.

Timmons isn't going anywhere. That's not happening. They have plenty of cap space heading into next year.

I'm pretty sure I picked the Steelers to beat the Panthers last week. If that's not optimistic, I don't know what is. I try to call it like I see it. I'm sorry that offends some.

Dan said...

"Not really crazy talk, just a hypothetical scenario where Spence and Shazier stay healthy and paly really well in near future and an aging Timmons’ contract is up, what the Steelers would do?"

Exactly. This is a question for 2016, not this year or 2015. Timmons has a cap hit of almost $12 million for 2016.

Anonymous said...

Steelers have almost no cap space left next year. It's gone. Good news however, all the bad extensions can be made worse by simple restructures to free up needed space. Hooray. That's how you be mediocre.

Dale Lolley said...

They have little cap space left THIS YEAR.
Currently, they have $2.5 available next year. But remember, Keisel is expected to retire. There's $1.5 million in savings. If Polamalu also retires, that's $3.75 million in savings.
Lance Moore and/or Gradkowski released would also save $1.5 million each.

Anonymous said...

Umm I hope releasing Gradkowski is not an option. Landry Jones ever seeing acting would be horrible.

Anonymous said...

Remember $2.5m is about 1.5% of the projected cap. With only 38-39 players under contract. And everyone you cut from their phoney contract designed to steal from the future (in reality steals from next year), you also have to replace. So you're rounding out those 14 to 18 roster spots with minimum salary, minimum experience talent. Remember when all the local honors were talking about rolling over Woodley's money and rolling in space next year? Like I said, it's gone. Same o same o.

kyle said...

The single largest cap liability next year is Ben at over 18mil. 2015 is the last year of his contract. It seems unlikely that the Steelers will let him play out his deal and enter free agency. I'll go ahead and take a shot in the dark that they give him an extension and it lowers his cap hit just a bit. Seems possible right?

There's 8mil in dead money from Woodley. That's the only albatross. It's a big one but not unwieldy. A couple retirements, a couple cuts, a couple extensions, and Ben's deal will have them in ok shape.

Anonymous said...

"There's 8mil in dead money from Woodley. "

That and about $20m in restructures from past years that doesn't really show up anywhere. But there it is. And only $11.6m of Roethlisberger's cap number is usable salary for an extension. The rest of that $18m is... you guessed it, is from past restructures. So..... anyone up for Kick the Can? Everyone sings this song and dance every year. And when next year comes, the money ain't there and the restructures begin anew. And June 1 cuts. And guess who are the prime candidates next year? Guys like Cortez and Gilbert. Round we go.

kyle said...

So 11.6mil isn't a nice chunk to play with for an extension? He's not going to be ok making 2mil next year, that's clear, but they can definitely bring his number down by several million. The other extension money is not dead. It is for players who are still on the roster, many of whom will be playing, guys like Timmons.

They'll be fine. People were singing your same song last year too right? They did a couple of extensions, they signed a few free agents, and what's the problem? What is wrong with kicking the can some? Are they saving up cap space to sign Revis or something?

Anonymous said...

Yeah ok. Take a look at the $100-120m QB contracts and show me how far that $11m goes the first year.

Your right, it's not dead money. It's money that wasn't on the original contracts and borrowed from future years. The future is now. Shows up in a spreadsheet no different than any other expense. And you can pretend whatever you like. But they are paying for the past. It's not all that different than playing with a 2011 cap when the rest of the league is in the present. Why do you think they gave those two examples Troy and Keisel two year deals when only one year is expected? So they could spread the hit out over next year. Just think how much money they could be "saving" if they slotted Keisel to make $20m in salary next year. You can pretend they're saving money by cutting him . But they're not. I don't care what voodoo caponomic gymnastics you do, he's costing them cap space.

Their depth everywhere is scary thin. And many of their starters should be depth. A couple of them they extended undeservedly because their depth was so bad. Rented another jag for $9m with the tag. And backfilled the roster with whatever spare change they could scrounge up or shake out of next year's sofa. Next year looks to be tracking the same. But if you're good with it, that's all that matters.

kyle said...

Take it easy, pal.

Their depth troubles have more to do with the draft than the cap. An organization that has resigned free agency to an occasional fill-in does not need a ton of cap. Who were this year's cap casualties? Ziggy Hood? Al Woods? Sanders? Who were they going to bring in but couldn't because they've been mortgaging the future?

And it isn't "voodoo caponomics" if they cut Keisel next year, he's on the books for 250,000 and they clear 1.5mil. Look around the league, I have a feeling you'll find a few teams with a guy costing them that amount or more who isn't on their team anymore.

Anonymous said...

^You are so right anonymous, lets fire Omar Khan and get you in that Steeler front office asap! You have all the answers!

Anonymous said...

If you say so, sunshine.

Lolley said they have 'plenty of cap space next year'. They don't. To get to 51 they'll have to make moves. So far, they're about a dozen players short of that, with $2.5m of space. Do the math. League minimum is about half a mill. That's about 5 scrubs they can sign, with 7 more scrubs to go. Cuts and restructures have to be made just to round out the 51/53.

Ben's money will go to Ben. There's only enough for that. An extension won't free up space for anyone else. And like I said with Keisel and Polamalu, you could make their phoney second or third year salaries whatever, $20m, and be over the moon thinking about how much money they're "saving" with their retirements. Knock yourselves out.

And that's before we ever get to Worilds. Essentially they cut Woodley and stole the money from 2015 to rent Worilds for one year. What to do next year? If he blows up they now have no space to pay him. If he doesn't, they just stole $8.5m from next year's cap to pay for 'not good enough' this year and a hole on their roster next year. Splendid.

And Heyward will be going into his final year. Like Roethlisberger, there's enough money in his salary to extend him. But there aren't a lot of good options next year for freeing up space. Basically restructuring all those who they signed this year, they have 'hedge funds' that can be robbed. Mitchell, Gilbert, Allen, Pouncey. Aside from Pouncey, do you really want to restructure those guys, making them upside-down,uncuttable through 2016? They're already upside-down with Timmons from past restructures. Restructuring him again keeps him that way. Antonio Brown and Pouncey are the only decent candidates for restructure. That's about it. Yeah, they can get the money, but at what cost? More mortgaged future trapping themselves in contracts to mediocre to poor talent? How does that make them better moving forward? Even if Polamalu is done after this year, he'd save them more money by restructuring than by retiring.

Everyone said wait until the cap takes off, they'll be fine. Well, the cap took off. And here they are again. You only get 7 draft picks a year. And once again they'll have close to 20 holes to fill. With no cap space. If, like you suggest, the draft is their only real resource for adding talent, how does this team improve if they're behind the talent curve with more holes than they can fill thru the draft and no cap space?

The offense lacks depth, but it's close to becoming contender quality. Defense is still a mess. Looks like they're content to tread the waters of mediocrity hoping for the defense to rebound and depth restored while they still have a capable franchise QB. That, or they're as delusional as most fanboys.

kyle said...

Thank goodness we have you here to see through the veil.

Maybe I would get as worried as you are if people didn't say the exact same things every single year since back when they used to complain that the Rooneys were "cheap."

I ask again, what moves do you think they would have made if they weren't handcuffed to bad deals? Who did they want to keep but couldn't? Who did they want to bring in but couldn't?

They brought in a starter in Mike Mitchell, a rotational player in Cam Thomas, and a depth player in Moats. They also brought in a back-up running back and a slot receiver. They lost some players most fans hated (fairly or not) in Hood and Sanders and Woodley. The only player they lost who I saw a majority of fans upset about was Woods and he was an ok back-up.

You've said they're in the same position next year that they were this year, so what happened this year? Who did they lose/not get? Verner? What awful move were they forced to make? Restructures and extensions? The horror.

And people love to bring up "wasting Ben's prime" non-stop. Ben had as much to do with 0-4 last year as the defense did. Ben was a turnover machine. Even after giving up multiple long runs and bad plays, the Steelers had the ball with a chance to win at the end. Ben throws a very dumb interception and they lose. I'm sure he threw that ball because of the cap.

Anonymous said...

Oh, good grief. Heaven forbid someone interrupt your sunshine enema. What have I said that isn't true? All of which was said to correct other's false statements. They aren't swimming in space next year. Roethlisberger's '$18m' won't free up cap space for others. They will have to make moves to get cap compliant just to round out a 51 man roster. Keisel and Polamalu do have phoney backend money that nobody expects them to see, that doesn't really 'save' them squat when they're gone. It costs them in the future. I guess you're the guy that goes to and sees a plastic comb for $10 on sale from $600 and thinks what a bargain. None of this requires a 'crystal ball'. Just a lick of common sense and elementary math skills. If that makes me a mystic, I pity your lot in life. Or envy your blissful ignorance. I'm not sure. You have issues with truth, but apparently have no issue swallowing whatever falsehood as long as it's rainbow flavored.

Mitchell has been underwhelming. Thomas has been a downgrade from Hood. Yes, Hood. And Moats is another undersized OLB who juxtaposed is no better or worse than last year's undersized, undertalented first round 'stud'. Maybe better. Hooray, I guess?

Most options have been shut down for them to even consider 'what if' because they have had no space and had to steal from future years to get the space just to backfill with what? Mitchell, Thomas, Moats? They're chasing their tails, but you sure seem to love the view. Enjoy it. As well as any last words on this.

kyle said...

If you think I'm an optimist, you're mistaken. I wouldn't agree with Dale that they have "plenty" of cap space next year. I just don't think they are in "big trouble" either. Most teams who are paying a 100mil QB have to dance around the cap. It's the nature of the position. Next year the 49ers have 148mil in obligations. They have have more players under contract but they'll still have to make cuts. Are they doomed?

If you wanted to have a discussion, I would have welcomed it. Instead you just want to characterize me as a homer because I don't think the cap has hamstrung this team. They tried to keep a special core of players together a couple years longer than it turns out they should have. That hasn't turned them into a terrible team. And they aren't a terrible team.

Most teams that aren't the Bengals are up against the cap every year. Everybody seems to figure it out. The Steelers cap guy gets interviewed for GM jobs every year. I don't think it's because he's a failure or for the Rooney Rule.

Have a good weekend.

Dale Lolley said...

Never said they were "swimming" in cap space. But they will have plenty of room to do what is needed.

Dale Lolley said...

I might add that the $140 million cap figures being thrown around right now are "estimates." Chances are, with the new TV deal and such, that figure will go up a couple of million.

They wouldn't have done the deals they did without the knowledge that they would be able to do the deals they want in the offseason. The Steelers just don't work that way.

Yes, they've moved some money into later years, but other than Woodley, they've done it with guys who they know will be around to earn that money.

Again, I'm guessing this is Troy's last year. He clears $3.75 million by retiring.

Heyward is on the books for $6.9 million. They'll do an extension with him that will lower his number.

Heck, releasing Cam Thomas saves $2 million.

As I said, plenty of cap space to be had.

Anonymous said...

Eh, those are just cliche excuses. Yeah, every year there are a handful of teams up against the cap. But seems there's only one team that is perpetually up against the cap. Every year. Maybe two teams. And who said "big trouble". Who said, 'terrible'. I thought I consistently made reference to now being stuck in a cap cycle that lends itself to perpetuating mediocrity which will be hard pressed to change unless that cycle is broken. Their situation severely restricts their access to the resources necessary to improve a mediocre roster. Yeah, they can get under the cap. Yeah they can extend some players, lose others. Yeah they can sign their draft class. Yeah they can pick up a jag or two in free agency. Meanwhile they're turning over a third to half their roster annually, backfilling the with the scrubbiest of scrubs. That's where the erosion started. On the backend. Hard to improve that way. Hard to replenish, restock. Hard to just maintain. Better be good drafting. That's really their one and only available resource to replace declining quality with rising quality. And that supply alone can't keep up the demand. When you have 20 departures every year and no real cap space, the draft ain't enough.

SF is a 'pay as you go' team. They have 50 players under contract for 2015, compared to 38 Steelers. They have less than 20% cap commitments in the form of prorata and dead money next year. The rest is cold hard cash in the form of salary, roster and workout bonuses. IE, flexibility. They can easily get out from under unwieldy contracts. Cut Aldon Smith, save $10m. Zero dead. Boom. Under cap. This year dead and prorata represent $17% of their cap. Compared to the Steelers who this year have 43% of their cap taken up by prorata and dead money. That is the model of inflexibility. And a poor business model for today's NFL. They're already at 30% for next year, with 2/3rds of a complete roster under contract. That number will get pushed up close to this year's after they extend Roethlisberger/Heyward and restructure half a dozen players, cuts/retirements, and round out their roster. Would I swap cap situations with SF next year? Gladly. In a heart beat. Dallas and NO are in similar straits as Pittsburgh. And as much as Baltimore would like to pretend otherwise, they're in the same boat. But that's hardly the NFL norm. Half the league has over $18m in cap space next year. Several with franchise-paid QBs. Den, SD, NYG, Det, GB, Atl, Cin. Those figures will only grow when teams roll over their excess cap space into next year. It's possible to have both. A healthy cap and a franchise QB. There's over $200m in unused cap space sitting out there right now this year. Not sure how that works under the current CBA with cash spending requirements. But that's like an extra 1.5 teams the league could field with the unused space. Things are tough all over.

kyle said...

How do you think the teams who have plenty of space did it? They gutted their teams. You can either play up against the cap and keep veterans or you can keep starting over, usually accompanied by a regime change.

I think everybody agrees the Steelers' cap situation isn't rosy. I also think when Dale said they have plenty of room, he meant for them, for the way they typically do business.

Would you feel better if they did everything they could to get out of "cap hell"? What improvements for the roster would that include? I don't care if they sign Ben to Bobby Bonilla's deal with the Mets as long as they field a competitive team which I'd say even last year they did.

This is a philosophical difference. I'm willing to chalk it up to that.

Dale Lolley said...

What I meant was that they can/will easily clear room as I pointed out.

There were people on here taking me to task - maybe it was you since they also were Anonymous - when I stated the Steelers could easily get under the cap for this season. Which is exactly what they did.

Th front office knows how to manage its cap. They're actually pretty good at it. This team has gone 8-8 the past two seasons while rebuilding, and just missed the playoffs in both years.
Beats the hell out of 4-12 doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Who ever said they couldn't get under the cap? Nobody. Every team can and must get under the cap. Every year. It's kind of a requirement. The issue has never been getting under the cap, but at what cost. You celebrate a string of 8-8's as being almost good when 10-6 is never a guaranteed ticket. Remember when 8-8 was "unacceptable"? Who said that? And when did it become not? Then fielded a roster last year less talented than the one that went 8-8? Whether this team is more talented than last year remains to be seen. Depends largely on their most recent drafts and really nothing else. Is this team more talented than the one that got Tebow'd? Offense, maybe, maybe not. Certainly weren't last year. Defense, no. Uh-uh. Rebuild? Re-something.

They wouldn't have done the deals they did without the knowledge that they would be able to do the deals they want in the offseason. The Steelers just don't work that way.

Well, yeah. Those contracts all had raidable hedge funds built in, which they can easily convert through restructures. Pouncey, Gilbert, Allen, and Mitchell all have decent roster bonuses due next offseason. Those are your targets for restructure. Aside from Pouncey, do you really want to restructure any of those guys putting them upside-down in those deals until or through 2016? That's kinda what I'm getting at. It's not hard to get the space, but do you really want to keep stealing from the future to do it? While strapping themselves to marginal/suspect talent? Remember Kemoeatu? Remember Colon? Remember their dead money? Hell, they're still paying on Colon. If they don't improve, it's possible they could cut those guys before the bonus is due and "save" money. But I doubt it. Creates more holes in their starting lineup (the opposite of rebuild). Would cost more to replace them, since they have squat behind them. Antonio Brown and maybe Timmons are the only other real candidates. Heyward won't free up much by extending, and Roethlisberger probably none at all. So, yeah, they can create enough to round out their roster with a bunch of minimum salary street scrubs, sign their rookie class, extend Roethlisberger and Heyward and pick up another marginally talented free agent to two like Mitchell or Thomas. Does that make them better moving forward? At the expense of a little more future here and there?

kyle said...

"Marginally talented" like Thomas and Mitchell, I'm glad three games is enough for you to make that pronouncement. Also, convenient that you left out Blount who played extremely well last week but oh well.

Since you won't tell me which free agents they missed out on this season, I'll stop asking.

Instead, I'll ask who are the big time free agents they signed in the last 20 years at times when they had cap space? Farrior, the first round bust from the Jets? Ryan Clark? Jeff Hartings? Kevin Greene maybe? Bettis? He was still on his rookie deal when they traded for him. They re-signed him after his first season to a nice deal for a running back but in the five years leading up to that they had failed to re-sign 20 of 22 of their own free agents.

You keep saying that they shouldn't do business this way, that it has caught up with them and it's why they've been 8-8 the last two years but you won't say how they should do it. Do you know how you avoid tying money up in players for future years? Lose. Or you can do what the Patriots do and treat your players like cattle.

And just so you don't think I'm all rose-tinted, I didn't like the contract they gave Kemo and I certainly didn't like how they kept tagging Starks year after year.

I think you should look around the league a little more and the teams who have lots of cap space, figure out how they got there. The Bengals have just now started paying to keep talent. They signed Atkins, Dalton, and Green (and a few others) to actual deals. God forbid if they actually win a playoff game or two, they will have to start overpaying for the rest. That's the nature of it. When you win, you get used to letting guys go or you get used to playing up against the cap.

Anonymous said...

"How do you think the teams who have plenty of space did it? They gutted their teams. You can either play up against the cap and keep veterans or you can keep starting over, usually accompanied by a regime change."

When did NE, Denver, GB all burn it down and start over? You say you want a discussion on this and that I should look around the league, but all you do is continue to talk out of your rectum and waste my time. How bout you look around the league and get an understanding of what the heck you're looking at. Your one example of SF demonstrates you haven't look at anything beyond available cap space for next year. Deep stuff.

"Marginally talented" like Thomas and Mitchell, I'm glad three games is enough for you to make that pronouncement. Also, convenient that you left out Blount who played extremely well last week but oh well."

I wasn't aware they were just 3 games into their rookie seasons. Their talents are limited. Marginal. How else would you characterize a couple of jags?

And I used Mitchell and Thomas as examples because those were the ones You brought up, and Moats who I also referenced. What was the convenience in your oversight of Blount? But since you brought him up, 3 teams in 3 years, $2m per year, what do you call that, Blue Chip? You really should try to keep up. If you had, you'd see Lolley brought up the idea of releasing Thomas for more voodoo cap savings. And you take issue with me calling the guy 'marginally talented after just three game'? Yeah, ok.

"Since you won't tell me which free agents they missed out on this season, I'll stop asking."

I've ignored your question because it's pointless. Like I've said repeatedly, they have to break the cycle first before anything else. They have to start structuring contracts on a pay as you go schedule. They have to stop restructuring contracts. They have to make hard cuts when they need space rather than continuing to borrow from the future for a rebuild. It's pointless talking about anything else until they get their cap in order.

Since you're so fond of these hypotheticals, how would you feel if tomorrow the League came out and said the salary cap for next season is $140m for each team except the Steelers. Their cap will be $120m. Would that piss you off? Would you think that's fair? Or would you just say to the guy who complains, 'Look around the league, it's the same for everybody.' Uh, no. It's not. And that is exactly what the Steelers are doing to themselves. Playing with $20m less than the rest of the league. Yes, every team does have prorata on their books and a little dead money. Most are around 20% or less of their cap. The Steelers are over twice that. And most of the league will be rolling over $7m or more in cap space into next season offsetting much of that. Not the Steelers. They have $8.5m in dead money for Woodley. Every bit of Roethlisberger's $6.7m in prorata is from past restructures. $3m per year of Timmons prorata is from past restructures. $2m per year of Browns prorata is from past restructures. Just those alone represent over $20 MILLION DOLLARS that they STOLE from next year's cap to get under past caps. That $20m was spent on past years. It's gone. And for what? 8-8? Only in Pittsburgh is that celebrated as cap mastery. Do you think that puts them at a competitive disadvantage? Operating with a essentially a $120m 2011 salary cap while the most of the rest of the league is at $140m or more? But you want to talk about who they could have brought in. It's an idiotic discussion to have. Pointless. Bengals have already locked up most of their talent, they have 53 players under contract for next season, $11m in space with $9m to date to roll over from this season. $20m in space with a full roster. Yeah, let's mock those guys.

kyle said...

I won't go through point by point because I'm sure everyone else is either sick or left this thread but here...

It isn't pointless to talk about who they would have brought in or who they lost because that is the entire point of the salary cap. It limits who you can bring in or keep. I agree that it will be nice once they've cleared some more room but I don't think it has much of anything to do with 8-8. The team that went 12-4 wasn't drastically different from the team that went 8-8 and some of the best players they lost were Hampton and Aaron Smith who both probably would have come back but probably wouldn't have made it through another full season. And Keenan Lewis who wanted to leave.

I understand the cap. I understand what restructuring does down the line. I just don't think it limits the team as severely as you believe it does. And this season is an example of them going half way to what you want. They have 22 new players on the team. They tried to sign Worilds to a reasonable contract but instead he gambled on the tag. They cut Woodley and after next year his money will be off the books. They restructured guys which I'm sure you didn't like but I'm ok with Troy and Heath getting extra time. They've earned it. That is future money that I'm ok with them spending.

You think their cap is a huge problem. I don't. Is that a big deal?