Defensive Back Anthony Madison – Steelers 2011 Free Agent
Free Agent Classification: UFA (unrestricted free agent)
2010 Salary Estimation: $630,000 Base – $630,000 Cap Charge
Analysis: Onward we go into the offseason and we continue our breakdown player by player of each of the Steelers free agents. Next up for analysis is defensive back and special teams ace Anthony Madison. Madison returned back to the Steelers late in 2009 after spending limited time with the Browns and Colts. The biggest contribution that Madison has made in his career with the Steelers has been on special teams and in 2010 he recorded 13 special teams tackles and tied for the team lead with Keyaron Fox in that stat. Madison also contributed a little more in 2010 on the defensive side of the ball in 2010 where he saw just over 140 snaps as a nickel and dime back mostly. Starting left cornerback Bryant McFadden missed quite a bit of time late in the season with hip and abdomen injuries and the Steelers were forced to move nickel corner William Gay to the outside spot and Madison filled the nickel role in the defense. Madison had just a handful of defensive tackles and tallied one interception and one sack in the final regular season game against the Browns.
As far as his work on defense, Madison has just average speed and coverage skills and as a whole was not a liability that most thought he would be in the defense. With that said, Madison should not be confused for a starting NFL nickel back, his biggest role and contributions to the Steelers is on special teams. Several times wide receivers would be able to separate from Madison easily in coverage and he was targeted 16 times over the course of the season allowing 8 catches for 50 yards. He was also victimized in the Super Bowl for a catch that went for 24 yards to Packers receiver Donald Driver early in the game.
Future: The Steelers certainly will look to the draft for help in the secondary this offseason as teams are more likely now to try to spread the Steelers out more in 2011 with 3, 4 and even 5 receiver packages at times. The Packers did this with success during the Super Bowl and although not every NFL quarterback is as good as Aaron Rodgers, other teams will likely attempt to duplicate the successes they had. The Steelers was once again solid against the run and against teams that did not try to spread out the defense. Madison can not be counted on to give the Steelers the depth and quality of play they need in the secondary, but his special teams contributions might just be enough to get him one more season depending how the CBA, draft and free agency plays out. If the rosters expand in a new labor agreement, it will help the cause of Madison to return as it would be easier to justify a roster spot just for a type player with his skill set. Should the rosters not expand, Madison would be hard pressed to be back in Pittsburgh in 2011. He also would likely cost around $800,000 and much like Fox, that might be just too big of a number for a guy to get paid just to cover kicks.
Other 2011 Steelers Free Agents Analysis