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Author Topic: Blow Up the Steelers  (Read 2462 times)
Finnegans Wake
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« on: Dec 09, 2013 at 11:26 »

We can bitch and moan about the state of the Steelers, but what would you do to fix them?  And I'm not talking about dwelling in fantasy land, either (e.g., Trade Ben for 5 first round picks!).  In fact, might as well not bother to suggest firing Tomlin and all the assistants and Colbert - we know that's not happening.  There may be some heat under Tomlin's and Colbert's seats, but it's highly unlikely either are going anywhere.  Far more likely are a few sacrificial lamb firings: Haley is the obvious choice; Danny Smith, STs?  It's hard to see where the FO would cut.

So the more likely gambit is to address players.

Here are the big 10, in terms of average salary:


Player, POS, Age, Contract Terms, Avg. Salary, Guaranteed, Free Agent


Ben Roethlisberger QB 31 8 yr $102,000,000 $12,750,000 $33,200,000 2016 
LaMarr Woodley OLB, LB 29 6 yr $61,500,000 $10,250,000 $22,500,000 2017 
Troy Polamalu S 32 4 yr $36,500,000 $9,125,000 $10,550,000 2015 
Lawrence Timmons ILB, LB 27 6 yr $50,000,000 $8,333,333 $11,000,000 2017 
Antonio Brown WR 25 6 yr $43,040,000 $7,173,333 $8,500,000 2018 
Ike Taylor CB 33 4 yr $28,000,000 $7,000,000 $8,000,000 2015 
Heath Miller TE 31 6 yr $35,300,000 $5,883,333 $12,500,000 2015 
Brett Keisel DE 35 5 yr $18,885,000 $3,777,000 $5,000,000 2014 
Maurkice Pouncey C 24 5 yr $17,960,000 $3,592,000 $10,350,000 2015
Ryan Clark S 34 4 yr $14,000,000 $3,500,000 $5,000,000 2014 

Right off, I don't think Clark or Keisel should be invited back, unless they're playing for ~ vet minimum and in backup roles.  Clark has fallen off the cliff.  Keisel's age has caught up. 

If I could trade Woodley, I'd dump that fat contract.  Worilds is showing he is nearly as disruptive, and Woodley is always hurt, out of condition, and he's almost 30.  (Can't see cutting him though, with $14M+ in dead money.)  Taylor's in a contract year, but his play is also going downhill.  Unfortunately, the Steelers (who could have drafted Xavier Rhodes instead of Jarvis Jones) have too many guys at OLB and not enough quality CBs.  Ike's a $5M dead money cut, so he plays out his final year and does not get an extension.

The big money, of course, is at QB.  I'd extend Ben to 2018, front-loading bonus money and back-loading salary.  Have some numbers to share later,  but comparable to Flacco in SB/year and comparable to Eli in salary/year.  It would save us almost $8M in 2014 & 2015.  I'd look at hammering out new deals with Heyward, Maclendon (replacing Hood), and Beachum.

Polamalu is the toughest call.  He's in a contract year, but his play has been patchy: brilliant, stupid guess, brilliant, missed tackle; repeat.  Almost $11M in cap hit for 2014, but no dead money if cut. 

The more I think about it, the more I think we need to bolster the D-side via the draft, and maybe give Ben one superior playmaker as well (Sanders, goodbye).
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 09, 2013 at 12:03 »

Also, sign Velasco to 4 years.
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aj_law
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 09, 2013 at 15:06 »

Yeah, haven't looked much in detail at the future yet, but as mentioned in some other thread I can't remember...I wouldn't mind if Pittsburgh went all defense in the draft with the exception of a big WR/TE type receiving target for the offense.

Some help via FA (HA!) would be nice too.  If not a guy like Raji, maybe follow the approach employed by a team like Seattle and look to some reasonably priced, quality veteran help in the form of 1 year contract deals for guys looking to score that last big contract the following year.

Get this shit turned around...like yesterday.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 09, 2013 at 15:48 »

BTW, Raji is still under contract w/GB in 2014.
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 09, 2013 at 19:18 »

Louis Nix in R2.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 09, 2013 at 20:16 »

Louis Nix in R2.

Mocks I'm seeing have him top 20.

Couple of behemoths:  RaShede Hageman (6'6", 311#, Minnesota) if he's there in R2, and Daniel McCullers (6'6", 351#, Tenn) in R3 - I'm not a fan of too-tall-types at NT, but these guys interest me.  Need to see the workout numbers for all NT candidates.
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Merman1983
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 09, 2013 at 20:43 »

Cut Woodley.  I don't care how much dead money you have to eat next year, that contract is an albatross and if we're gonna extend Ben it needs to go.  Extending Heyward would be my next priority, Worilds if possible.  Mclendon to end, as a kind of Kimo V2.0.  Mac signed a 3 year extension last offseason, so he's playing somewhere.

Agree Clark needs to go.  He toast.  Agree Keisel has to go to, unfortunately, as the injuries are piling up.

I'd draft heavy on defense focusing on CB, playmaking S or an elite NT.  I'd go almost all defense unless an elite playmaker (see big WR) is available.  For as big of a clusterfuck as the offense is at times, they've shown this season they can put up points and there is some promise there with Brown and Bell, and hopefully Wheaton.  Not thrilled with Bell so far as he seems to lack elite speed and burst but he at least seems like a guy who can churn out yards.

Hopefully we can hold onto some of the young defensive players, sprinkle in whoever we can't afford to cut, and infuse some speed and talent at a few positions.  


I do think next year is going to be ugly though.  

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TucsonSteeler
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 10, 2013 at 10:19 »

There needs to be some changes in the coaching staff.  The likely hood of any of the Coordinators on up being changed is unlikely.  Our offensive is not the number one problem and I doubt they do any major changes on that side of the ball.  Mr. Lebeau will and should stay for as long he cares to but he needs some serious help.  I really think that they should, and may, let John Mitchell go.  Not sure when or how he got promoted to Assistant Head Coach but he is a big part of the problem.  He has been provided top draft choices and has done little with them.  Heyward is just now starting to show some impact.  I believe that the biggest problem with our LB’s is the line is not taking care of the blockers in either run or passing situations.  I know he has been here forever but it’s time to let him go.  And it’s time to start grooming Lebeau’s replacement.  Not sure if that guy is currently on payroll, Lake??  I would also let Butler go as well.  The LB group has no personality (no good personality) and that falls to Butler.  Again he has been around forever but he needs to go for the same reason.  And of course Danny Smith needs to be punted!
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 10, 2013 at 12:48 »

I love LeBeau, but the recent D-side trend has been 1) lack of turnovers, 2) inability to keep pace with the NFL passing trends, including 2a) continued use of playing corners 10 yards off their man.  This year, I would add 3) an unstoppable diarrhea of giving up big plays (Pryor... Tannehill...). 

I wish LeBeau would take an advisory position and we had a more forward-thinking DC.

Not sure about the problem with the DL.  We didn't draft well in a couple of spots:  from the get-go I said Hood looked like a 4-3 player; same with Ta'amu Alameda.  I liked Heyward, but he was mired in the rotation.  I liked Fangupo better than Alameda, but considered him an older-aged prospect who was more of a project, which he's turned out to be.  We got Mac for nothing, but either switch to a 40 front, or move Mac to end and bring in a true NT.  I think a lot of us had questions about Jarvis, but also going back to Tomlin's first ever pick, it was CLEAR that he was no OLB, he would have to play ILB.

Would firing Mitch help us draft better?

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« Reply #9 on: Dec 10, 2013 at 14:55 »

Agree that this needs to be a mostly defensive draft.

Is is possible for Jarvis Jones to play ILB? Is that feasible?

I doubt the team can afford Worilds now, which sucks.  I think he gets paid -- there are sooo many more 3-4 schemes than in years past. So we better all pray that Jarvis comes in next year and is a force.

Won't be sorry to see Hood go. I note that he's barely been mentioned by any of you in future Steeler plans, for good reason. It's confounding that the guy isn't more of a force, since he seems to have the physical tools.  What a wasted pick.

Also, it's obvious (and sad) that Ike is nearly done. The problem is that he has never really struck fear in opposing QB's.  He was just a brick (handed) wall that prevented completions. Now that he can't cover, there is zero risk throwing to his side. He sure as shit isn't going to pick anyone off. Thus, I'm not certain of his value even as a #2 corner. He probably plays out his contract (the cap hit and lack of depth), but it's almost over. That said, I just don't think that it is wise to spend a high pick on a single corner -- most teams need to trot out 3 guys that can cover.  So, maybe better to draft a couple of CB's after other needs addressed and see if one or both sticks. Guess Gay will have another year in Pittsburgh.

I think the team needs to let both Troy AND Clark go. I think we need to let Will Allen and Shamarko be the new tandem, though I'd hope we add a better centerfielder with one of our first 3 picks.

Still think we need a NT and ILB in rounds 1 and 2 (if there is by some miracle value there). It would be nice if Spence could be an impact player.  I doubt he even makes the team, though.

The only offensive position I think the team has to address is TE. I'm assuming that they let Sanders walk (good riddance), resing Cotchery, and Wheaton moves up.
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 10, 2013 at 15:10 »

Also agree about Lebeau.  One of the greatest ever, but this seems like the best time to transition to Butler or whoever is taking over. 

Apparently if they cut Woodley after June 2 it frees up 8 million and they only(!) eat 5.5 of dead money.  Also, cutting Troy outright saves them about 8 million.  Don't really want them to cut troy, and cutting Woodley after June 2 doesn't really help resign Worilds anyways, but something creative has to be done.

Douchette mentioned in his chat he thinks Ike can transition to free safety?  Never really though about that.  He's lost a step and can't catch a cold but still has more speed than the corpse of Ryan Clark and we know he isn't afraid to tackle. If they are tied to him next year, who knows. 

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« Reply #11 on: Dec 10, 2013 at 15:16 »

Wouldn't mind seeing Ike transition to safety...if he could catch. But he can't, so, I don't know. What the hell, worth a try...
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« Reply #12 on: Dec 10, 2013 at 15:43 »

If I were Colbert, I'd look very hard at teams playing the 3-4 who might need an OLB and shop Woodley, with the idea of keeping Worilds. (Cardinals, reunited with BA? Chargers? Saints?) I'd point out that Woodley is fifth among players under 30 in total sacks (57.0, behind Mario Williams - 75.5, Tamba Hali - 73.5, Elvis Dumervil - 73.0, and Justin Tuck - 58.0), and would push for a R2 pick. If teams balked because he's missed 12 starts over the past 3 years, I'd counter with the point "Imagine how many sacks he would have had if he'd made all those starts."

There would be plenty of teams that would consider paying one of the top OLBs 3 years, $25.5M, and give up a draft pick. We'd bite $14,170,000 in dead money, but the offset would be getting a draft pick and some overall cap relief.

Jarvis as an ILB... something to at least consider.  But if we would move Woodley, then I'd probably stick with developing him as OLB.

Wouldn't cut Troy, I'd at least keep him for 2014 and let him play out his contract.  But the time is now to groom the future at both S positions.  Ike to S?  No.  Not at all.  He's got better speed than Clark or Troy, but lacks the smarts to diagnose.  It would just be ugly.  Keep Ike his final year, and transition to youth.

Spence is a wild card.  No idea there, but a smart FO would not count on him, his rainbows and unicorns happy recovery story notwithstanding. 

Another wild card?  Fangupo.  I'd love to see them play Fangs at nose and Mac at DE across from Heyward, just to try it out.  Fangupo is strong, and he's got that stout plugger shape for a NT.
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« Reply #13 on: Dec 16, 2013 at 13:12 »

I have been surprised by Heyward. He's not great, but he seems to give great effort and, can we say, is above average at the position? Maybe one less concern.

Every time I watch him, I get more disappointed with Jones. I don't know what he did in college, but it is not translating at all to the pros, at least not now. Woods seems serviceable, but still not that guy to dominate the point of attack.

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« Reply #14 on: Dec 16, 2013 at 13:20 »

Every time I watch him, I get more disappointed with Jones. I don't know what he did in college, but it is not translating at all to the pros, at least not now. Woods seems serviceable, but still not that guy to dominate the point of attack.

I think it's hilarious when the announcers refer to him as this "up and coming stud prospect" or whatever other accolade that's reserved for a rookie that's making a noticeable impact.

I'm like...who?  Guess we know who watches Steeler games and who doesn't...

Woods looked damn good yesterday.  Immovable.
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« Reply #15 on: Dec 16, 2013 at 15:01 »

Heyward is definitely coming up.  And the way Woods played the middle, it seemed to help Hood, no?

Heaven forbid we shuffle the F7 and try:

LDE:  Heyward (Arnfelt)
LT:  McLendon (Fangupo)
RT:  Woods
RDE:  Hood (Keisel)

LOLB:  Worilds
ROLB:  Woodley (Jones)
MLB: Timmons (V. Williams)
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Merman1983
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« Reply #16 on: Dec 17, 2013 at 10:38 »

http://sportsblogs.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers-steelers-blog/2013/12/17/Why-the-Steelers-will-part-ways-with-Woodley/stories/201312170002?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter


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aj_law
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« Reply #17 on: Dec 17, 2013 at 11:15 »



Writing's on the wall.  It bums me out too because I always had high expectations and hopes that Woodman would be a pass rushing beast for years.  Seems like his production and general ability to stay healthy conveniently coincided with the signing of that big, fat contract.  Think Harrison's decline and eventual release played a part too.  At the time, Woodley was a great complimentary impact defensive player.  That's not what you'd expect from someone who's the second highest paid player on the team, tho.
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Merman1983
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« Reply #18 on: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:03 »

Heyward is definitely coming up.  And the way Woods played the middle, it seemed to help Hood, no?



Yeah Woods has done nothing but impress me with his play.  Maybe he's not a complete stud NT but seems like a guy who should be there going forward with Mac at end.

Hood seems to only be good at getting penetration (that's what she said), but on his sack Heyward destroyed two blockers.  Ziggy does look like he'd be much better suited for a 4-3 though.
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« Reply #19 on: Dec 18, 2013 at 11:09 »

...Woodman would be a pass rushing beast for years.  Seems like his production and general ability to stay healthy conveniently coincided with the signing of that big, fat contract.

Not just seems, that's exactly how it timed out.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #20 on: Dec 18, 2013 at 13:10 »

Keep reading conflicting numbers for Woodley as a 6/1 cut.

But putting him on IR for a calf... isn't that saying something?
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Merman1983
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« Reply #21 on: Dec 18, 2013 at 13:24 »

Keep reading conflicting numbers for Woodley as a 6/1 cut.

But putting him on IR for a calf... isn't that saying something?

Everything I've heard locally is that if a post June 1 cut he saves us 8 million with 5.5 dead money next year through 2017.

I mean, they have to make a statement here.  You already let a good young corner walk.  What's Einstein's definition of insanity again?



I've seen pay-cut talks thrown around and they make sense logically but I don't think he'd do it.  He's already pocketed 25 million in bonuses.  Due 25.5 million in salary for the next three.  Doubt he gets more than 8.5 a year on the open market, but still don't think he agrees to a pay cut. Only 29, may think he gets more on the market, blah, blah.



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« Reply #22 on: Dec 18, 2013 at 15:11 »

And... FFS... I am sick of these RESTRUCTURES that take older vets' salaries and defers them to when we know they will be obsolete in terms of playing viability. 

Over the past 4 years, Worilds has seen very limited action; Woodley has missed time due to injury.

Sacks per GS:  0.56 for Woodley (fitting!), 0.85 for Worilds.

Tackles per GS: 2.96 for Woodley, 7.1 for Worilds.

Might not be fair to compare C$2 to rookie deal WRT production, but fair or not:

$ per sack:  almost $800K for Woodley, $225,000 for Worilds.

$ per tackle:  $151K for Woodley, $27K for Worilds.

Worilds playing with Heyward is the future, baby.
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Merman1983
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« Reply #23 on: Dec 19, 2013 at 07:15 »

FYI from Bouchette's blog.  Interesting on the deferral as well.  Also, he suggested extending Ben, dropping his cap hit next year to free up the money necessary to extend Worilds, who will be UFA as of March 11: 


What some still do not understand when it comes to LaMarr Woodley is that the Steelers can save real money AND salary cap space by releasing him. That’s $8 million. Yes, they would have to wait until June to realize a savings on their salary cap in 2014, but they can use that money after June too. They could use it to extend the contract of Maurkice Pouncey for one, and maybe Cortez Allen, and maybe someone else.

And if they do not use that $8 million in 2014, with the new cap rules in the CBA, they can carry it over to 2015 to virtually offset the $8.5 million in dead cap money he would count against them if they do cut him in June 2014.
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« Reply #24 on: Dec 19, 2013 at 08:12 »

Interesting.  Didn't know that about the carry-over.
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