Depending on how the final 4 games play out for the Steelers, it could be the final 4 games that inside linebacker James Farrior plays in a Steelers uniform. Farrior is under contract through the 2012 season, but will count nearly 4 million dollars towards a salary cap, if there is one in 2010. It is hard to imagine that the league will go into 2010 without one, but stranger things have happened. If there is not a salary cap then he could be asked to take a lesser role.
Statistically, Farrior\’s 2009 numbers will likely only be a little under par from previous seasons, but it is the things that you do not see on the stat sheets that clearly show he is declining in production. The defensive captain has clearly lost a step and it has dramatically affected his coverage skills. The most notable play you can point to this season was the week 3 game versus Cincinnati, in which Bengals fullback Brian Leonard beat Farrior on a crucial 4th and 10 pass play with the game on the line. While that was the most notable, there were several other instances since then that Farrior was exposed in coverage. “Potsie” has also been under fire from a communications and leadership standpoint this season as well. The defense has surrendered many 4th quarter collapses this season and while he was not totally responsible for the collapses, the finger pointing starts with the defensive captain.
No one can question the dedication Farrior has had to the Steelers organization as he was integral in bringing 2 championships to the Steel City, but if he some how stays a Steeler after 2009, he will likely be asked to take more of a reserve role and a pay cut if 2010 ends up having a salary cap. Regardless of what happens salary cap wise, he will surely be a player that the Steelers organization looks at in the offseason both systematically and financially going forward. Farrior is a warrior and will always have his place in Steelers history. It will be a shame if they have to cut ties with him like they did last offseason with linebacker Larry Foote, but it is a business and hopefully Farrior understands it.