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Steelers Feel Levi Brown Is Roughly A $2 Million Risk They Had To Take To Save Season


Knowing that they have no legitimate left tackles on their current roster, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to trade for tackle Levi Brown, who hasn’t gotten of to great start this season with the Arizona Cardinals.

Brown, a former first-round draft pick who sat out all of last season with a triceps injury, has allowed four sacks, six quarterback hits and eight hurries in his first four games of the 2013. The Penn State product has been a good run blocker so far this season, however, and the hope is that his pass protection will still be an upgrade over what they are currently getting out of second-year tackle Mike Adams.

Trading for Brown has more upside than downside as long as the compensation was not outrageous. As of right now, all reports indicate the Steelers gave up a conditional draft pick. What those conditions are, we do not know.

Brown is under contract through the 2016 season, but being as he was acquired via a trade, he has no guaranteed money attached to his contract. The Steelers are likely to restructure his 2013 base salary upon trading for him and by doing so that will create roughly $1,972,500 in potential dead money should he not work out. If they don’t restructure his 2013 salary, all that’s at risk is a conditional draft pick.

In other words, should Brown need to be released after the season is over, the Steelers will more than likely designate him a post June 1 release and they will be charged roughly $657,500 in dead money in 2014 and $1,315,000 in dead money in 2015.

Should Brown wind up playing well and be deemed a future starter, the Steelers will need to find a way to accommodate his $6 million base salary that he is scheduled to earn in 2014. At that time, they could decide to restructure a good portion of that as well.

The Steelers obviously aren’t ready to give up on the 2013 season and Brown is essentially, or should I say, potentially, a $1,972,500 risk that they felt they had to take in order to save their season.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Fritz Baughman

    “I promised to quit smoking weed for THIS??” – Mike Adams

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Here is how I see it…

    1) You cannot go on letting your $100 million franchise QB get killed. You’ve got to try something. Even if it’s not a pro bowler, you’ve got to try and get an experienced tackle to protect Ben better. Levi Brown is an upgrade from Adams and Gilbert IMO. If he gives up one sack every two games that’s a helluva lot better than 3 sacks in one game (Adams).

    2) You have to look at the contract itself. Weigh the risk vs the value. If Brown ends up sucking… WHO CARES?… Cut him. He has no guaranteed money coming. So we give up a late pick and the Rooneys give up a couple mil (this year only) that they weren’t spending anyway. If he does prove to be worth the money we’ve got him locked up for two more years, or we can restructure. We really aren’t risking much. Contrast that with the Ravens who are giving up a 4th and 7th. If Monroe ends up sucking… They cut him… If he ends up being decent… They have to re-sign him with new up front bonus money… If he ends up being really good… Some other team will offer him more than the Ravens can afford.

    3) We can still draft a franchise LT in 2014. If the new guy turns out to be dominant… move Brown to RT. Now your OL is potentially:

    (1st round LT) – Pouncey – Velasco – DeCastro – Brown.

    Not too shabby. Four 1st rounders. All with varying degrees of experience. Hopefully enough talent there to give Ben a couple more runs at a Super Bowl.

  • Tim Barca

    Well said, I couldn’t agree more

  • Fritz Baughman

    I think Pouncey is way too athletic to play LG. It’s an insult to his abilities. But hey….whatever works.

  • steeltown

    Well stated

    Although Levi Brown did give up 3sacks in one game this year (4 total on the season) BUT it was the 1st game of the season and his first game back from being on IR all of 2012, so that means ONE sack allowed since week 1 that’s not too shabby

  • Fritz Baughman

    Ben sounds thrilled:

    “We’ll see,” Roethlisberger said. “It depends on how much work he wants to put in. How much does he want to be here? Is he going to be here all weekend? Does he want to put the time and effort into be that guy? Who knows if he is that guy? Is it Beachum or Mike? We don’t know. I guess it will be a matter if he can learn the offense when he gets here.”

  • steeltown

    The Steelers are 0-4…I cant imagine Ben is too thrilled about anything right now. I want them pissed off, I want them hungry, I want them never satisfied

  • Soliciting Steelers

    Don’t forget Adams didnt give up 3 sacks in 1 game, it was 3 sacks in 1 f#cking series…I’ll take Brown LOL

  • kev4heels

    Great explanation Dave -thanks

  • CrazyTerry

    Who cares? WHo CARES! why do you think they restructured Heath’s contract? BECAUSE THEY DIDNT HAVE ENOUGH CAP MONEY THIS YEAR. Colbert is an absolute moron for not cutting Whimper before he was guaranteed his salary when the coaching staff had so little faith in him. You can’t ignore salaries paid. All these little amounts add up to a big amount they could have spent on a good free agent tackle.

  • CrazyTerry

    Keep living in dreamland.

  • Mkeller

    Arizona let him go because he’s washed up. The steelers are in shambles. I find this decision to be as gut wrenchingly bad as most decisions they’ve made during/since the uncapped year. They are addicted to restructuring aging players and over paying waning talent. They are delusional.

  • T R

    3 sacks and if it wasnt Ben it would be alot more sacks. And if they would left him in the game it would be more…
    Forgot how many hurries it was.

  • T R

    you been listening to Tomlin too long with you “and rightfully so” LOL

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I can stomach that a little better but this year he hasn’t fared much better than Adams from what the stats say. A sack a game isn’t much better than a sack a game from Adams.

  • domaug

    it would be nice if Pouncey didn’t get cut block by his own teammate… then again, they wouldn’t have signed Velasco with him healthy and Velasco has been their best lineman by far.

  • domaug

    those never-ending cliches are contagious

  • Shawn S.

    Let the cut block go already. Pouncey has.

  • kakello34

    Can they trade for someone who can get an interception or force a fumble?

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Terry, I agree with you that Colbert made a huge mistake paying Whimper a guaranteed veteran salary. But if we don’t spend some more money now to protect Ben we will lose $18 million per year once he’s injured.

    We tried to sign a good FA left tackle this past off season. His name was Jake Long. He ended up signing a 4 year / $36 million contract with $16 million guaranteed and $4 million more likely guaranteed. That’s what good tackles cost. You tell me where we could’ve saved $9 million?

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    You seem pretty confident in your assessment of Brown. Do you find it at all odd that the Rooneys, Colbert, Tomlin all disagree with you?

  • domaug

    i’m guessing you missed my odd “silver lining” comment at the end of that post, that they wouldn’t have signed Velasco if it didn’t happen. so far Velasco has been their best lineman and i don’t even think it’s close.

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