Kicker Shaun Suisham – Steelers 2011 Free Agent
Free Agent Classification: UFA (unrestricted free agent)
2010 Salary Estimation: $1,010,000 Base – $1,010,000 Cap Charge
Analysis: The NFL may be in lockout mode, but we are not so onward we go with our breakdown player by player of each of the Steelers 18 free agents and up next up for analysis is kicker Shaun Suisham. The Steelers released veteran kicker Jeff Reed following the week 10 loss to the Patriots and it came as no surprise. Reed had become a huge distraction as well as unreliable. His post game comments following the Patriots game all but sealed his fate. The Steelers settled on the street free agent Suisham as their next kicker and continued on. He made all of 5 of his extra points against the Raiders in his week 11 debut and was 4 for 4 on field goal attempts against the Bills the following week. This included a 41-yard game winner in overtime that really endeared him to his new team. In the week 13 win against the Ravens, Suisham punted 3 times when regular punter Daniel Sepulveda went down with his season ending knee injury. It was not pretty, but he averaged 37 yards on those punts with a net of 33. Suisham had previously been released by the Redskins last December after missing a 23-yard field goal late in an overtime loss to the Saints. He kicked for the Cowboys in the 2009 playoffs but missed from 48 and 49 yards in the playoff loss to the Vikings. He wasn\’t re-signed by the Cowboys after the 2009 season and had unsuccessful tryouts during the summer with the Browns and Rams before signing with Pittsburgh. Including the playoffs, Suisham was 17 of 20 on field goal attempts with the Steelers. He was however just 3 of 5 in playoff attempts.
Kickoff wise, Suisham did not show a strong leg in that area of his game. He kicked off 40 times during the regular season and his average distance was just slightly more than 59 yards. He also only had 2 touchbacks in those 40 kicks. He fared only slightly better during the playoffs, but is just not regarded as a top notch kicker in that regard. Unlike Reed, Suisham showed he is willing to stick his head in on kick coverages and made a huge tackle on return man Lardarius Webb on the opening kickoff against the Ravens in the playoffs.
Future: The Steelers seem to be in limbo as far as their kicker situation goes thus far in the offseason. Kicker Swayze Waters was signed to a future contract following the season and will perhaps get a chance in training camp to compete. Waters however has not kicked in a regular season NFL game as of yet in his career. The Steelers will almost certainly have competition for Waters and could bring in yet another street free agent or two by the time camp rolls around. It is not out of the question that Suisham could be back in the fold in 2011, but right now the Steelers will want to wait until after the draft and the labor situation is settled before making that decision. The Steelers in all likelihood regard Suisham as just a 2010 band-aid and will likely go in a different direction in 2011.
Other 2011 Steelers Free Agents Analysis