James Harrison wants to retire a Pittsburgh Steeler. Steelers guard Chris Kemoeatu could have been a Jet but decided to stay where he was at. Whispers and rumors that Colts center Jeff Saturday was willing to switch to position at guard to play for the black and gold all were naught when he resigned for three years to remain Peyton Mannings MVP. Byron Leftwich said not to count him out as the Steelers backup quarterback, then there’s also Charlie Batch. So what about Dennis Dixon?
This past week, free agency began in earnest and Steelers personnel management, like the other 31 teams have been busy adjusting their roster and making offers. Faced with having thirteen players as unrestricted free agents, including two viable backup quarterbacks, Kevin Colbert and the rest of the Steelers front office are working to retain as many of the Steelers current players as possible. Of course, it’s probably not going to be feasible.
One of the top priorities, according to Colbert, is getting the NFL’s DPOY’s contract extended so that he can finish his career as a Pittsburgh Steeler. It will happen, it’s just symantics. Biggest problem is the terms, especially due to the situation with the CBA and the “uncapped year”.
Of course we’ve seen the Steelers place a franchise tag on OT Max Starks, again. There was a tender to restricted free agent Willie Colon. One wonders if the idea was to actually keep Colon, or use that tender in lieu for a first round draft pick, something that the Steelers could use, seeing that they’re 32nd in the draft this year. Chris Kemoeatu could have taken the same route, the exact same route, that former Steelers guard Alan Faneca took and become a player for the J.E.T.S. but he declined the offer and decided to stay with the black and gold. Okay, the Steelers did offer him good money, but the Jets did offer Kemo a little more. Fullback/tight end Sean McHugh will be staying. McHugh actually made a difference in the Steelers running game when they put him in at the FB position, rather then the TE position.
What was surprising is the release of OT Kendell Simmons. Simmons went out for the year in the first Ravens/Steelers game with a torn Achilles tendon. What’s not surprising, they probably will not be resigning punter Mitch Berger. Okay, so Berger wasn’t the best, but I believe the reality is that punter Daniel Sepulveda will more then likely be returning after sitting the season out with a torn ACL.
There’s still a lot of time left in the off-season for contracts to be signed and players cut. WR Nate Washington will probably end up being a starting WR somewhere else and CB Bryant McFadden is testing his value on the open market and it is doubtful that he’ll return. Restricted free-agent SS Anthony Smith did not receive a contract tender and it’s questionable if Marvel Smith will return.
Of course we’re all wondering just who will be the Steelers backup quarterback with both Batch and Leftwich in the FA market. Makes it even more interesting that Leftwich hinted that he might prefer being a backup in Pittsburgh to a starting QB somewhere else.