Teams are starting to release veterans as the Giants did this week with Ahmad Bradshaw, Chris Canty and Michael Boley. The latter two are 30 years old but Bradshaw is only 27, yet had knee problems last season.
The first reaction of Steelers fans, at least by my mailbox, was to ask if they would be interested in Bradshaw?
No. They had enough injured running backs last season that they do not need to get some more. They need a good, young back with some decent speed and they’ll probably have to get him in the draft.
The Giants moves, though, signal that we are in that period where more veterans will be released, and the Steelers will be among the leaders in that category. Actually, they won’t have to release too many because most of those who won’t be back will be unrestricted free agents at 4 p.m. March 12, players such as Mike Wallace, Casey Hampton, Max Starks, Ramon Foster, Rashard Mendenhall and more.
The Steelers waited until the end of February and beginning of March to release their longtime veteran stars last year, so it may be several weeks before they do it, but it’s coming.
Onto some stuff:
--- Chris Rainey cleared waivers, which means none of the other 31 teams wanted him for the minimum and with no signing bonus. Maybe they were willing to overlook what happened off the field but were not willing to overlook his performance ON the field last season.
--- Here’s an early plea to the Dapper Dan for next year’s Lifetime Achievement Award: Dick Groat. He may be the best all-around athlete to ever come out of the Pittsburgh area, making it both in the NBA and Major League Baseball, where he won the National League Most Valuable Player Award and had World Series rings with the Pirates and Cardinals. Duke University considers him a god. Groat has so many friends in the Pittsburgh area alone that they might have to hold next year’s banquet at the Consol Center if they do the right thing and give him an award that should have come his way long ago.
--- YOU: 8 and 8 is .500 football. Its not the end of the world to play .500 football once in a while unless you are the Pittsburgh Steelers. Every other question on the chat or on the blog is about what free agents will be signed and who gets franchised. Yet the reality is that the Steelers will jettison some serious guys. Harrison, Foote, Hampton, Lewis, Allen, Woodly, Mundy, Batch, Leftwich, Mendenhall, Wallace, Burress, Starks, Legursky, and not to far from this list is Polamalu and (Gulp) Heath Miller. All those players are likely being considered for the ex-Steeler list. While I do not think that all 15 will go, I do think 8 is a realistic number. So my questions to you would be; Because the younger players arent pushing the veterans out, the cap is. When can we start using the terms “rebuilding”or “Blowing it up”? And with heavy cap casualty's will the Steelers have the ability to challenge for the division? Or will it be a struggle to stay out of the cellar?
ME: With a quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger, I don’t think they’ll struggle to stay out of the cellar. However, they were only one above the cellar last season and I don’t think they’ll be as good in 2013 but let’s see what their roster looks like when all the dust settles. Heath Miller would not be on that list, nor LaMarr Woodley. James Harrison may have to take a pay cut.
--- YOU: I'm wondering, with all the talk about the "taller" WR's Ben needs, why no one mentions "taller and bigger"? A tall guy is great but 8 of 10 tall guys are a bit fragile for the NFL. Why don't the Steelers think outside the box a little a follow in the footsteps of the (hated) Patriots*, Saints, Packers and even Ravens by going in the other direction: instead of getting skinny guys and beefing them up why not get big, fast TE-types and trim them down for speed? Wouldn't it be a little easier to find a couple smart, hard-working fairly fast TE's who're 6'5"/250-65 and are better receivers than blockers and move them outside instead of trying to find "natural" WR's? This draft is packed with fast, good-hands TE's 6'4" and up who would rather slim down to 235/250 and over-match 5'10"ish CB/NB's? I'm thinking guys like Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham, Jordy Nelson, Gronk, Pitta, Vernon Davis, Dallas Clark, Witten etc.
ME: That’s a little too much for me to digest. But Kevin Colbert regularly reads this slog and I’m sure he will consider your suggestions.
--- YOU: If you were the GM would you retain Keenan Lewis and cut Ike Taylor? Obviously you would want both, but this seems like the longer term smarter play for the Steelers. Otherwise they are looking for a starter this year and then probably another one at corner in a year or two.
I get that the Steelers will do a big dump and probably not retain but one if any of their unrestricted free agents. I think they have 7 draft picks this year, stating that where do you see the Steelers filling the roster? Rookie free agents? It’s hard to see how this will not result in a near rebuilding since they will have few options to improve the roster for 2013.
ME: I’m not going to cut Ike Taylor, so let’s start there. I think they have a chance to retain Lewis. As I wrote yesterday, I expect a March Massacre, and we will see more young players in the lineup from the start next season, starting with the offensive line, which has the potential to be its strongest and youngest in years.
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