Quarterback Dennis Dixon – Steelers 2011 Free Agent
Free Agent Classification: RFA (restricted free agent)
2010 Salary Estimation: $470,000 Base – $513,000 Cap Charge
Analysis: Onward we go with our breakdown player by player of each of the Steelers free agents as we hopefully head towards some sort of free agency soon. Next up for analysis is quarterback Dennis Dixon. With Ben Roethlisberger suspended for the first 4 games of the 2010 season and Byron Leftwich sidelined with a knee injury to start the season, Dixon was the starter by default as the Steelers entered the 2010 season. Dixon had shown some improvement during the preseason, but also showed his inexperience as well. Before the 2010 season, Dixon\’s only notable regular season work had come against the Ravens in week 12 of the 2009 season, as Roethlisberger was sidelined with a concussion. Dixon played well enough to put the Steelers in position to win that game, but it was not to be. In week 1 against the Falcons, Dixon was 18 of 26 for 236 yards, but led the Steelers to just 9 points in regulation time. In the end though he got the win when Rashard Mendenhall had a walk-off 50 yard touchdown run on the Steelers first play of their first overtime possession. Dixon started week 2 against the Titans, but left the game after injuring his knee early in the first half. Dixon eventually needed surgery and was placed on injured reserve in October.
Dixon had shown some improvement, but was still a long ways away from being a reliable back-up quarterback in the league. He still shows some indecisiveness on key throws and many times threw low on his misses. Dixon has 3 years of camp and preseason under his belt now, and in my opinion should be further along in his development and he does not seem like a fit for the current Steelers offense. His leadership skills are also questionable from what I have observed in his 150 plus snaps in the NFL.
Future: Dixon has been tendered a one year deal as a restricted free agent for 2011 and unless he gets an offer from another team and the Steelers refuse to match it, it looks like he will return for his 4th season of camp with the Steelers. The Steelers look to once again have four quarterbacks in camp and only need three for the 2011 season. Dixon will likely battle Leftwich and aging veteran Charlie Batch for a spot on the roster and could perhaps be showcased heavily during the preseason in hopes that another team might trade for him. If Dixon can not beat out Leftwich for the #2 spot in camp, it will come down to him versus Batch for the final QB spot and he might just ask to be released to try to battle for a #2 spot elsewhere. It is believed that Dixon was tendered at the lowest level possible for a 3rd year player, so his price tag figures to be around $1.2 million in 2011 if he makes the roster. If he sticks, one would think this would be his final season with the Steelers baring something unexpected happening. Currently I view his chances as 50/50 for being on the opening day roster in 2011.
Other 2011 Steelers Free Agents Analysis