Casey Hampton Also A Candidate For PUP If He Returns To Steelers In 2012

Pittsburgh Steelers GM Kevin Colbert not only acknowledged the reality of running back Rashard Mendenhall starting the 2012 season on the PUP list, but also told reporters on Monday that veteran nose tackle Casey Hampton will definitely be a PUP candidate if he is back with the Steelers in 2012 according to Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Hampton had surgery late in January to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee that he suffered early in the AFC Wild Card game against the Denver Broncos and it was the second time he has had the surgery on his left knee.

Hampton, who is the final year of a three-year contract he signed back in February 2010, will turn 35 years of age in September and he is a likely candidate to have his contract restructured if he is to return for his 12th season with the team that drafted in the first round of the 2001 NFL draft. He is currently scheduled to earn a base salary of $4.89 million and is scheduled to count almost $8.057 million against the 2012 cap. Chris Hoke, Hampton\’s primary backup for over a decade, retired late last month and that leaves the Steelers several question marks at the nose tackle position when you factor in that Hampton will be slowed early on should he indeed return. The only other nose tackle on the Steelers roster with experience is Steve McLendon, an exclusive rights free agent who will return in 2012. The Steelers are expected to address the nose tackle position early in the 2012 draft as well.

The main question with Hampton right now is how long will it take him to recover from surgery, and what type of shape will he be in when and if he returns. ACL injuries usually take 6-9 months to recover from after surgery and that would put the start of the season as a best case scenario for Hampton. It would be a minor miracle in my opinion if he was ready by then. The Steelers could just choose to terminate the contract of Hampton outright and save $5.89 against the 2012 cap. It is unclear if they would have to come to some sort of injury settlement though because of the injury.

With the start of the new league year now roughly a month away, we should have our answer in regards to the status of Hampton over the course of the next several weeks.

  • Pittsburghpenguins 8771

    Assuming Hampton is not ready or is cut, what do you see as NT options aside from McLendon? Ziggy has played nose in a pinch, but I’m assuming he’s best suited at the 5 technique. If all healthy, we’ll have Keisel/Ziggy/Cam for 2 DE spots and the adequate McLendon manning the nose all by himself.

    Obviously addressing the nose is a strong possibility in the draft but can never assume anything from a rookie. And with our cap situation, what will be possible in free agency?

  • Dan the man

    Id cut Hampton because no team is going to want to sign a 35 year old who wouldnt be able to play until week 7. Then in August sign him to veteran minimun.

  • Joe D

    Do football players have workers comp… lol
    Here is a guy that got hurt and logic says, cut him to save the salary. What types of protection to players have when they get hurt while “working”.

    Bottom line, Hampton needs to be cut or salary cut to $1million.
    Steelers have very little CAP space if they hope to sign Wallace, etc…
    and btw… I see Cotchery as the #3 receiver and Sanders as #4.

  • Huskie

    Really hope Hampton chooses to retire. Btw, how do players retiring affect what is owed on their contract? Could the steeler’s pay Hampton like a retirement “bonus” or whatever and have that not count as a cap hit?

  • Joed32

    Retiring is the same as being cut as far as the cap is concerned.

  • Joe D

    Now that I think about it… they should cut Hampton…
    Just like Starks there were no takers… You can wait and see if/how he recovers and sign him mid-season.
    Who is going to take a 35 year old coming off acl surgery?

  • Dave

    I think they would need to reach some type of injury settlement with him before releasing him, like you said above. Not sure how that would count against the cap?

    But, I do agree, nobody is going to sign him to big money as a 35 year old coming off knee surgery