Punter Daniel Sepulveda - Steelers 2011 Free Agent
Free Agent Classification: UFA (unrestricted free agent)
2010 Salary: $1,101,000 Base - $1,101,000 Cap Charge
Analysis: We covered all of the roster in the two latest Terrible Podcast episodes (offense & defense) and will now give a player by player look of each Steelers free agents as we head deeper into the offseason and free agency.
First up is punter Daniel Sepulveda. Until there is a new CBA and the labor issues are all worked out, Sepulveda is considered an unrestricted free agent and was drafted by the Steelers in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He played his college football at Baylor.
Sepulveda was a restricted free agent last offseason and the Steelers tendered him the lowest amount of $1,101,000 and had the rights to match any other offer made to him in the offseason. He was not made any offers by any other teams and signed his tender.
This year the left footed Sepulveda was headed for perhaps best season punting for the Steelers before tearing his right ACL in the 13-10 win against the Baltimore Ravens in week 13. Sepulveda was attempting to force a Ravens return man inside and his non-kicking foot stuck in the turf. Sepulveda managed to limp out to hold on kicks for the rest of the game, but he was done once again for the season. It was the 3rd time that Sepulveda has torn his ACL and the Steelers have to be real leery at this point about signing him back.
Future: The Steelers signed Jeremy Kapinos to replace Sepulveda, who was placed on injured reserve, and rode him all the way to the Super Bowl. Kapinos was barely serviceable as a punter, and will be back to compete in training camp with another free agent punter or perhaps a rookie draft pick or un-drafted rookie. Three ACL tears might be too much of a risk to even give Sepulveda the NFL minimum for his vested years. The Steelers did however tender Sepulveda as a restricted free agent just in case the 2010 free agency rules are used again and he is then no longer unrestricted. Sepulveda is a gritty, throwback type player and not afraid to get in on tackles and punt coverages. Unfortunately it is likely his downfall as well and if he recovers fully from his latest ACL injury, he very well could be kicking for another team in 2011. The new CBA will play a big role in his future with the black and gold.
Other 2011 Steelers Free Agents Analysis