Onward we go with our with our player by player look at the Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Free Agents as we get ever closer to the beginning of the 2012 free agency period. We are a few players into our analysis of the Steelers unrestricted free agents and now move forward with the unrestricted group by taking a look at quarterback Charlie Batch. Check the links at the bottom of the post to see the other Steelers free agents that we have already covered, both restricted and unrestricted.
Player: Charlie Batch
Experience: 13 Years
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2011 Salary Cap Hit: $935,000.00
2011 Season Breakdown: There were not many snaps for Batch to take during the 2011 season as he saw just 75 offensive snaps in total last season as he backed up starter Ben Roethlisberger. 54 of those snaps came in the week 16 game against the St. Louis Rams as the Steelers chose to rest Roethlisberger and his injured ankle and give Batch a rare start.
On the season Batch was 15 of 24 for 208 yards passing with 1 interception and 0 touchdowns. The interception was forgivable as wide receiver Antonio Brown slipped coming out of his break. Batch was sacked 2 times in brief appearances earlier in the season, but against the Rams in week 16 he showed he can still avoid the sack with a couple of nifty moves for a guy his age. Batch however can\’t throw the deep ball anymore and that was evidenced also in the game against the Rams as he under threw Mike Wallace for what would have been his only touchdown pass of the season. Wallace adjusted to the ball and made the catch, but was downed just short of the goal-line as a result.
One thing that does not show up on the stat sheet is the leadership that Batch brings to the team. He is always even keeled and a great influence on younger players. He also seems to be a great sounding board for Roethlisberger in addition and he understands the game and the quarterback position inside and out. Thus far he has given every indication that he intends to play a 14th season, but will the Steelers and new offensive coordinator Todd Haley want him back? Realistically he is a third string quarterback, but he can be depended on to make a start or two should the need arise, and will always push whoever winds up being ahead of him on the depth chart.
Free Agency Outlook: Batch undoubtedly wants to return for one more season in Pittsburgh, but as I mentioned above, Haley is now running the show on offense. The Steelers also could toy with the idea of trying to groom a late round draft pick or carry former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, who they signed to a futures contract this offseason, as the third string quarterback. Because of the way one year qualifying contracts work for veterans, Batch would actually be cheaper to carry from a salary cap standpoint that Smith would be. Batch also will be allowed to sit on the free agency sidelines for a while until the Steelers get their salary cap issues and training camp roster straightened out. Right now I would say that there is a good chance that Batch will be signed to a one-year qualifying contract and get a chance to win a roster spot, most likely as the third string quarterback. It is hard to see him going elsewhere unless he was guaranteed the second string spot. I just can\’t see that happening. It is Pittsburgh or bust most likely for Chuck.
Other 2012 Steelers Free Agent Player Analysis Mike Wallace – Restricted Free Agent Keenan Lewis – Restricted Free Agent Doug Legursky – Restricted Free Agent Ramon Foster – Restricted Free Agent David Johnson – Restricted Free Agent Ryan Mundy – Restricted Free Agent Jamon Meredith – Restricted Free Agent Jerricho Cotchery – Unestricted Free Agent Max Starks – Unestricted Free Agent Mewelde Moore – Unestricted Free Agent Byron Leftwich – Unestricted Free Agent Dennis Dixon – Unestricted Free Agent
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Keep in mind, 2nd vs 3rd string QB doesn’t mean much anymore now that they got rid of the emergency QB rule. Batch could be the 3rd string guy that is ready to play in game, while they have someone else that could be a long term fill-in/developmental guy in the “2” spot.
There’s also a good chance they don’t sign Batch with the understanding that they may call him at any time. He isn’t going to play anywhere else, and he lives in Pittsburgh, so he’ll be available whenever they need him even if they don’t sign him.
Steve – I agree with your first post, I think they could sort of keep Batch on the shelf and re-sign him if (when?) Leftwich gets hurt. (Assuming they re-sign Leftwich as the #2).
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