Categorized | Article, Free Agents

First Look At The Steelers 2014 Free Agents


NOTE: Bumping this back up for New Years Day banter. ~ DB

With the final week of the regular season now upon us, it’s time to take a quick and dirty look at the 2014 free agents the Pittsburgh Steelers will have during the offseason. I have included a small note on each player and will dive more into each once the season is over.

LB Jason Worilds - Regardless of what happens with LaMarr Woodley during the offseason, the Steelers would be smart to work hard at re-signing Worilds, who will surely receive offers from other teams. As you saw on Sunday, this team has zero depth at outside linebacker and while Jarvis Jones should improve, it still could take some time before he masters the art of rushing the quarterback effectively.

S Ryan Clark – Clark very well might retire, but if he doesn’t, he won’t be in demand during free agency. If he does somehow return for one final season, he won’t be re-signed until very late in the offseason and at that point he would have to be willing to play for the veteran minimum. ESPN might be his best offer.

DE Brett Keisel – You can throw Keisel in the same boat as Clark. Because of his age and wear and tear, Keisel isn’t likely to receive attention during free agency. If the Steelers somehow decide that they want him back for one more year to play a reserve role, it would have to be for the minimum. This is likely it for him.

WR Emmanuel Sanders – Sanders will likely be considered one of the top five unrestricted free agent wide receivers this offseason and as a result, he will likely be playing for another team in 2014. The Steelers won’t be able to match the deal he gets, so consider him gone. At least they will get a 2015 compensatory draft pick for him.

DE Ziggy Hood – One would think that Hood wouldn’t get a lot of attention in free agency, but he is still fairly young and he is a former first-round draft pick. It will be interesting to see if teams that run a 4-3 would consider signing him to play defensive tackle like he did when he was in college. Due to the Steelers lack of depth on the defensive line, I think they will try to bring him back if the price is right.

WR Jerricho Cotchery – With Sanders likely gone, it would be wise for the Steelers to re-sign Cotchery to another two-year deal similar to one he was given in 2012. That way, he can continue to mentor not only Markus Wheaton, but another draft pick as well. Cotchery can still serve as a number three receiver at least for another season.

NT/DE Al Woods – The Steelers have a lot of time invested in Woods now and it would be silly to let him walk away. He won’t be in demand and being as the defensive line lacks depth, they should easily be able to get him back under contract for next to nothing.

C/G Fernando Velasco – Velasco will be busy rehabbing his Achilles for a while. If he is willing to play for the minimum next season, the Steelers should consider bringing him back to serve as the backup center to Maurkice Pouncey.

S Will Allen – Allen made it back to the Steelers this season after being released by the Dallas Cowboys. Sooner or later this team has to get younger with their reserves, so 2013 might finally be it for one of Mike Tomlin‘s favorite players.

RB Jonathan Dwyer – If anything, Dwyer has earned another invite to training camp and he will more than likely be willing to sign for the minimum.

LS Greg Warren – Warren shows no signs of slowing down, so the Steelers should have no problem signing him to another one-year qualified contract for the veteran minimum at some point during the offseason.

T/G Guy Whimper – The Steelers will be in no hurry to re-sign Whimper. If he does return, it will be on another one-year deal for the minimum with no guarantees he makes it out of camp. It’s time to move on.

C/G Cody Wallace – Perhaps Wallace gets a camp invite and an opportunity to compete against Velasco. Once again, we are talking about a one-year deal for the minimum with no signing bonus if it happens.

RB LaRod Stephens-Howling – The Steelers lack running back depth, but they won’t be in a hurry to re-sign Stephens-Howling, who is still rehabbing his knee. We very well may have seen the last of him.

WR Plaxico Burress – I just can’t see Burress back next season. 2013 was his final shot.

TE David Johnson – Johnson will be unemployed for a while and the best he can hope for is a training camp invite. I think it’s time to move on from him and we’ll have to see if the Steelers feel the same.

RB Felix Jones – 2013 will likely be the end of the road for Jones.

P Matt McBriar – If McBriar is back, it will be because the Steelers want a veteran punter in camp to push a younger punter. He will be unemployed for a while and better options are likely to be out there.

TE Michael Palmer – Um, no.

LB Stevenson Sylvester – End of the line.

LB Jamaal Westerman – With the Steelers needing a few offseason outside linebacker bodies, there’s a chance Westerman might be asked back on one-year minimum deal. If he isn’t, it won’t be a big deal.

C/G Eric Olsen – Yeah, I don’t think so.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Jollyrob68

    I want Cody Wallace signed not camp invite,signed. At this point he’s played more than Pouncey and is healthier.

  • RW

    Worilds is the top priority. Should have at least tried to sign him last year. After that, Hood, Woods, Velasco, Warren and Dwyer all need to be re-signed. That’s it.

  • steeltown

    Been waiting for this article…
    I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said, I think the backup Center battle between Velasco and Wallace will be interesting. I could see Keisel back for one more season on a vet minimum, especially if Hood is not retained. I definitely feel (hope) that they will re-sign Cotchery, Dwyer, Warren and Al Woods

    Its time to part ways with guys like D.Johnson, Burress and Sylvestor

  • Berlusconi

    I totally agree with you except for Warren. Not that he should not be back, I just do not see him as any kind of priority this offseason.
    I don’t know what to do with the D-Line if Hood, Keisel and Woods would be gone. I hope at least two of them come back.

  • steeltown

    Well I only say Warren because re-signing him gets that position locked up and out of the way, but I see your point

    I’d say re-sign Keisel and Woods, they could both be had for less than the price of Ziggy.. Keisel of course on a one year minimum and mainly to provide depth and to mentor Arnfelt and N.Williams

  • Callentown

    Seems like one of the big winners here is Emmanuel Sanders. Instead of the Steelers getting a draft pick to lose him to the Cheatriots, they keep him and he has his best year before going on the open market.

    Personally, I don’t prefer his character. I wish Wheaton could have gotten on the field more this year so he could slide in easily as the #2.

  • JAMESH

    I’ve never even seen that Sylvester Stevenson guy on the field even once…………

  • CW

    Sure you have. He’s that guy on the field that’s not really involved in the play no matter where it is in relation to where he lined up.

  • steeltown

    Did you watch the game this past weekend?

    I have to give him some minor props, over the last couple yrs he was a good special teams coverage guy. He’s forced 3 or 4 fumbles with limited snaps

  • steeltown

    ..that’s Chris Carter

  • CW

    Don’t know if Sanders is really going to be a top 5 wide receiver free agent this coming year…

    2014 unrestricted wide receiver free agents… Boldin, Jacoby Jones, Eric Decker, James Jones, Jerome Simpson, Edelman, Nicks, Maclin, Hester, and Riley Cooper all either are better than Sanders or equal to Sanders at the job or better because they can play at an elite level at KR or PR as well as play decently as a WR.

    Sanders might not even rate top 10 among free agent wide receivers.

    And that’s before looking at some quality choices of free agents at tight end like Dennis Pitta or Jimmy Graham whose an unrestricted free agent this year.

    Chances are Graham, Decker, James Jones, Cooper, and maybe Nicks draw all the attention to them and Sanders drops alot.

  • SteelersDepot

    You should look and compare here and it is foolish to think he won’t be a top target: http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/12/steelers-wr-emmanuel-sanders-promises-not-to-coast-to-close-out-the-season/

  • Elijah Stevenson

    It’s a shame to c plaxico leave he had been such a great WR when he’s been playing for us we could’ve really used him for the endzonethis year because we’ve been having some difficulty. Maybe it’s me but I want kiesal to stay one more year and I hate to c him leave the team

  • steeltown

    He’s young, he’s a good blocker and he can return kicks

  • Elijah Stevenson

    Man y isn’t carter a possibility he’s nothing but invisible in the field

  • CW

    Yeah, him too.

  • steeltown

    He has far more catches than any WR mentioned not named Bolden, Decker or Edelman. He’s young, he’s a good downfield blocker and he can return kicks.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    When Sanders was out Wheaton was on the field and Ben still didn’t throw it to him for the deep ball

  • Elijah Stevenson

    The #1 person who needs to leave is Sanders immediately

  • CW

    Granted, you could be right.

    Though Cooper and James Jones have produced significantly more yards per catch with far fewer targets and far more chaos at quarterback for most of this year.

    It’s not even that I don’t see him drawing attention. I just don’t see him drawing high money attention. Which means I don’t see him drawing a high compensatory draft pick in 2015.

  • Callentown

    Yeah, he’s a rookie so first year and all. But he did show some signs early on when Ben did throw to him and I like what he looks like in his first year. Just would have been nice for him to get more playing time, but he was injured so whattayagonnado?

  • Ken

    Thanks Dave for the early look. Remember when we use to look at these list with shear terror, now its like, hmm we could survive without him, him, him, him, him, him, him….. I guess I would want Worilds back the most of that list. The one disagreement I have is on the punter McBriar, I think he will be our punter for a few years to come.

  • Callentown

    I think the Pack, Broncos and Cheaters all re-sign their respective players (from that list) before they hit the open market.

    That leaves Manny as a top five guy for sure, even though he won’t be anyone’s #1 position WR in my opinion.

  • r4kolb

    and less drops

  • Geoff Cordner

    The comment about Ziggy Hood playing in a 4-3 is interesting! Maybe he’s just not suited for Steelers defence and he could become a star on a 4-3 defense team? Too bad its too late to trade him and get something more than a comp pick. I don’t think we re-sign him.

  • r4kolb

    Da Beard….If the Steelers don’t resign him he will retire. If they get him at minimum then maybe. He, barring injury, will be a backup. He’s really a non factor on the line at this point. If I were Colbert I would let him walk. Thanx for the good years and your leadership.

  • r4kolb

    Dave you say you feel no to Felix and LeRod? If that’s the case then don’t they absolutely have to sign Dwyer? I’m guessing a late round draft pick too?

  • HopalongCassidy

    Keep Wallace and Velasco. Move Pouncey to LG where his speed and quickness will help the run game.

  • Alan Felicia

    I like what Wallace has shown so far but no where near as good as Pouncey. You do realize Pouncey is considered one of the best Center in the NFL compared to Wallace who has been a journeyman lineman playing for his 7th team.

  • r4kolb

    You know what’s funny. As bad as we sometimes rip Colbert why is it other teams always seem to want to rape and pillage our roster? To add salt to the wound they also seem to be willing to overpay for them too. I predict Sanders goes to Arizona just so BA can piss us off. Then again Fitz makes 50 mill so maybe not.

  • steeltown

    He still provides good QB pressure and a lot of hurries, he’s still the 2nd best DLineman we have behind Heyward IMO

  • steeltown

    I think they’ll bring back LSH and draft a late Rd guy to play behind Bell and Dwyer

  • Michael Pearce

    I agree, but I still dont want Saunders back. Too many drops in critical situations(and otherwise). Good riddance.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Worilds – IMO, you cut Woodley, save the money and bring him back as the starter. You also need to get some other guys in here for backups next year.

    Clark – His time is over. I am ready to move on from him.

    Keisel – I would have no problem with him coming back, but for me it would be as a backup.

    Sanders – It was nice knowing you. I would have let him go this past year.

    Hood – He takes a lot of grief on the web, but his play has been pretty good this year.

    Cotchery – He NEEDS to be back

    Woods – He NEEDS to be back

    Velasco – I think it is likely we have a shot at getting him back, but he probably needs to know he isn’t going to be a starter.

    Allen – I am okay with him back to make the transition to Shamarko easier, especially if Clark is gone.

    Dwyer – I am fine with him back cheaply.

    Warren – Could care less.

    Whimper – He has provided decent depth. I am okay with him back.

    Wallace – If he can play guard as well, I think we should keep him.

    Stevens-Howling – I doubt he is back.

    Burress – Would have been nice to have him this year, but he won’t be back next year.

    D. Johnson – With Spaeth now in the fold, and hopefully a drafted TE with the long-term goal of replacing Miller, there is no space on the roster.

    Jones – Bye

    McBriar – Bye

    Palmer – Bye

    Sylvester – Bye

    Westerman – I think the coaches brought him in for a look. He will probably be back at least for camp.

    Olsen – Bye

  • Alan Felicia

    The reason Ben didn’t throw to Wheaton is b/c he wasn’t open. IMHO, Wheaton has been non-existent whenever he lines up on offense. To me, Wheaton need to work his butt off and step up! Take for example the two veterans Sanders and Brown. Emmanuel Sanders performed well his rookie year that not only he caught 28 receptions but was elevated to 3rd WR on the depth chart over Randle El. Or Antonio Brown who had 16 receptions the final 5 weeks his rookie season in 2010.

  • Michael Pearce

    I think all or most Steeler fans want us to find a way to keep Worilds. He is the must sign, especially to a position that cannot afford any losses. Woodley will never be what he was in his first few year, ever again. A decision has to be made on him right away. I am now happy where our backup center position stands, and although I think Velasco is a very good center(and hope he is resigned), I would now be comfortable with Cody Wallace there if Pouncey goes down again next year. He has proven to be a very capable backup these last two games.
    I’m fine with Saunders(88) leaving Pittsburgh. He’s never been that impressive to me, and some of his drops are ridiculous. I would love to see us get a Big fast receiver for the other side of Brown next year. For everyone else; it looks like there is going to be a house cleaning, and some older vets will have to take steep pay cuts or they will be gone.

  • Michael Pearce

    I pretty much agree with everything you say here Kenneth.

  • Alan Felicia

    Why would you move Pouncey who happens to be one of the best Center in the NFL to accommodate Velasco or a journeyman like Wallace? Pouncey is a 3-time ALL-PRO!! Doesn’t make any sense?
    Look, Velasco and Wallace have played admirable however there’s a reason why Wallace have been with 6 teams before Pittsburgh and Velasco was beaten out by a rookie! Both players a quality backups at best!

  • Jason

    But you can’t live off of reputation forever. Much like Woodley, Pouncey has been considered one of the best at his position without playing to that level in quite some time.

  • Jason

    But I still wouldn’t encourage keeping Wallace over Pouncey.

  • Alan Felicia

    In quite some time, are you kidding? Pouncey has been ALL-Pro 2010, 2011, and 2012, his first 3 years! He would be ALL-Pro this year if not for the freak accident in Week 1!

  • r4kolb

    Saying he’s the 2nd best D lineman is just a testament to how bad our D line is unfortunately.

  • BurgherinMD

    I agree. It seems Wheaton was most famous this year for breaking fingers. With Sanders gone the Steelers will almost definitely draft a wr in the 1st or 2nd rd because Cotchery is meant for the slot and not so sure they trust a guy with four catches to stencil in as a starter next year.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    Sanders is pathetic end of story

  • Elijah Stevenson

    Yeah thats the good news note that he’s old he’ll retire a Steeler. I wanted Harrison to retire a Steeler so badly but that didn’t end well. When we played CIN and he was out of the game there were some Steeler fans were disrespectful to him after all he’s done for us.

  • Brandon James

    No offense Alanm besides for his rookie year he has not played like an All-pro, not even pro-bowl for that matter. He was ranked the 13th or 12th best center last year? He is living off the reputation. Is he a good center? Yes. But not what you just said,

    (His brother is actually the better ranked center)

  • steeltown

    As opposed to a guy with no catches (aka rookie)??
    You guys are funny, he missed OTAs because of a League rule regarding graduation, he was out the entire month of October after surgery on his finger and then was basically #4 the rest of the season..

    A.Brown didn’t do much his rookie season either.

  • joed32

    Any money that they can save by cutting Woodley would come after FA is over. If they want to keep Worilds they will have to find the money elsewhere.

  • OIF3gunner

    Velasco was not beaten by a rookie. They changed offensive line schemes. Wallace has played pretty damn good for a nobody. I would be fine signing both Velasco and Wallace to one or two year deals.

  • OIF3gunner

    I also basically agree. I just want Kiesel and Ryan Clark gone. Time to let some young guys play and they have rapidly declined.

  • Alan Felicia

    Ranked by who? Some magazine by one writer’s opinion? Or Bleacher Report that’s practically written by fans?
    In any event, the fact that Pouncey has been named All-Pro 3 years in a row recognizes him as the best NFL player at his position.
    Now questions for you: you stated above that Pouncey was ranked 12th or 13th. Can you honestly give me 12 other centers that’s better than Pouncey?

  • Nathan Shrift

    Quite a few major decisions will made this offseason regarding vets who are eating up cap space. I feel very confident we will either tag and sign Worilds or plain sign Worilds. Of course, this will come at the expense of other players. Other than that I would like to see Cody Wallace and Will Allen resigned.

  • Arthur Branch

    What’s the Love affair with Wallace about. That was his man that was all over Bell at the causing the fumble at the 1. Wallace is a average number backup. Ben adjusting to the quick throwing of Hailey’s offense is what has made this line look decent lately.

  • Don2727

    Steelers do have two tags that they could use for Worilds if they have to.

  • Alan Felicia

    Big deal, so he missed OTAs – he was there during training camp, right.
    As I stated above, in their rookie season, Brown had 16 receptions in the final 5 weeks while Sanders not only had 28 receptions but outplayed Randle El and moved up the depth chart as the 3rd WR. How many reception does Wheaton have? Six in 12 games.
    Roethlisberger is an equal opportunity QB who has thrown to 16 different WRs/TEs/RBs this year. Wheaton is a poor route runner as evident to this past game @ Green Bay when he was pressed to the 2nd in the 2nd half without garnering a single target…which means that Wheaton was never open. Wheaton need to follow in Brown’s footsteps.

  • BurgherinMD

    actually A. Brown contributed on special teams (ie Tennessee game td) and in the playoffs scorched L. Webb in the Ravens game on a 64 yard bomb and had the clinching/clock killing catch against the Jets in the AFCG. We all made our points.

  • Rubem Dornas

    Don’t forget Alexander, who is in the practice squad.

  • Brandon James

    Hahah who has a say in the pro bowl team! FANS. And honestly, if you look at the numbers…yes you can find centers plentiful better than Pouncey The past few seasons. He has not been an All-Pro center, where are you getting that from? If you go off just the pro bowl then you don’t know football. Timmons is the perfect example of someone who DOESNT make the team because of name recognition.

  • Dutchess Hershberger

    why keep greg warren? use the money to help sign worilds, in Minnesota jared allen is the long snapper, are you telling me we cant find someone on the team to be the long snapper? plus it takes a roster spot from a young player,
    how about getting rid of chris carter with syllvestor as well, how about amking ike taylor take a huge paycut, same for Woodley,
    how about drafting better, playing the no huddle full time, how about getting a fg kicker that can kick a fg longer then 45 yards? a kick returner that’s not a fullback, aka justinn tucker and jacoby jones, a punter that’s reliable, how about getting another beast at tight end to pair with heath, how about hiring a full time in game clock management expert to tudor tomlin, how about a tall wide receiver or let MOYE AND JUSTIN play,.

  • Dutchess Hershberger

    part ways with chris carter, greg warren, all tight ends not named heath, felix jones, clark,ike,hood,woods, all running bakcs not named dwyer or bell, the punter, the kicker — never been a suisham fan, they guy cant kick a fg longer than 45 yards and misses chip shots,

  • Dutchess Hershberger

    agreed sanders missed huge oppurtunities all year starting in week 1, 3rd down vs. dolphins, 2 point against ravens, ………
    hes no more than a 3rd receiver expendable

  • Dutchess Hershberger

    1st rd. AUSTIN SEFARIAN JENKINS
    2ND ALLEN ROBINSON
    DEFENSE REST OF DRAFT EXCEPT 6TH
    6TH. COLT LYEROLA
    THAT GIVES BE THREE MORE BEASTS

  • Robert Alaniz

    Alan. I saw Pouncey getting thrown around left and right before he got hurt.

  • Robert Alaniz

    but he can double as our Proctologist and you just can’t beat that for the price. lol

  • Robert Alaniz

    Good point on Arnfeldt

  • Robert Alaniz

    Okay guy. Ill go on the record right now and tell you Wheaton will be a better wide receiver than Sanders. Maturity. attention to detail and I trust what the other receivers that are his team mates say about him.

    He actually got open deep and had his man beat and Ben didn’t look off the safety before he threw it to Wheaton. The safety came across the field and picked the pass off.

  • RW

    I seem to remember a fairly big catch his rookie year against the jets in the AFC Championship game to ice it?

  • RW

    He’s still right – Sanders isn’t even a top 5 according to that list. He’ll get a bunch of interest but as a number 2 receiver at best. The five guys he mentioned at the end of his post are all number 1/1(b) receivers. Sanders can’t make the difficult catch and has been pretty awful all year at hauling in the fade route passes. Alas, there are some stupid GMs out there, but if you dismiss the notion that stupidity will land him a nice paycheck, you end up with the reality that he’s not that great a receiver. Moreover, he’s really only an above-average return specialist with limited upside in that department. Aside from the fact that we don’t have the money, the organization should let him walk anyway.

  • RW

    That doesn’t make his market value as high as his paycheck will end up being. We’re too cash strapped to pursue him and I’m glad we are. He’ll be a mid-level number 2 receiver for his entire career and an above-average return man with little upside.

  • RW

    Good – I’d prefer the comp pick to draft some depth at the OLB/ILB position in the middle rounds.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Worlids: We need someone opposite of Woodley who can get pressure. Must sign
    Clark: Time has shown the effects but do we have his replacement? Maybe if we have replacement
    Keisel: I can see him for depth but not a starter. Maybe for right price
    Sanders: Hasnt played terrible this year, can we sign him cheap. Could Use for right price
    Hood: He IMO isnt a starter so he would have to sign cheap and be a back up. Could Use if Keisel isn’t signed or vice versa.
    Cothcery: He has had a nice season but we need to be careful not to keep older players too long. Maybe for one more year but if we can keep Sanders I would let him walk
    Woods: He turned the corner this year and is a special cog to our defense IMO. Must Sign
    Velasco: Depth for our OL is very important and if he can come back healthy it would be a good signing. Could Use for right price and healthy
    Allen: Depth is important but his age and the many mistakes it times to let him go. Dont Sign
    Dwyer: Established him self as a good short down back. Must Sign we need depth and he should come cheap
    Warren: He is getting up in age but as long as he stays cheap. Must Sign but I would bring in some young comp to challenge him
    Whimper: Showed he can be trusted in a back up role but we need to look for upgrade. Maybe depending on what is out there
    Wallace: I see him more of a camp body only so I would like to see someone who will fight for the depth spot. Maybe depends on who is on the open market

  • Steeler Goetz

    Too many people let the fact that they wouldn’t want to have a beer with Pouncey affect whether or not he’s best for this ball club. Everyone can say what they want, but the bottom line is the Steelers will be doing back flips when Pouncey is back on the field and just as eager to work out a long term deal for him.

  • David Edward

    I heard Dave on the radio a few days ago taking about Free Agents and it reminded me about this site where the most knowledgeable Steeler fans are. This is the best site for the real in depth Steeler talk. So, I figured I’d throw my 2 cents in about the upcoming FAs:
    1. Worilds – I think we all agree he is the most important FA for the Steelers. Without him they are in trouble at OLB with almost no depth, a young JJ who has to make a major step forward to be a consistent starter at ROLB, and Woodley likely to be designated for the June 1 cut. Worilds has plenty of leverage as he’s probably the #2 FA 34OLB behind Orakpo. I estimate his market value to be similar to what Paul Kruger got from the Browns last year (5yr/$40M with $20M guaranteed). The Steelers have many ways to create the cap space needed to sign Worilds (even with Woodley counting in full until June 2), so I think that they will get it done. Plus, Worilds cap for 2014-16 should be less than the $25.5M savings from Woodley’s base.
    2. Woods – I would argue that he is the #2 priority behind Worilds, albeit a distant one. With him, Hood, and Keisel all FAs that leaves a big ? at DE. Keisel is at the end, Ziggy has proven that his upside is mediocrity, but Woods has continued to develop. Actually, I think the best spot for him may be NT with McClendon moving out to DE. Either way, both have position flexibility. I put Woods market value similar to the contract McClendon got last year, and I think they’ll sign him.
    3. Cotchery – in spite of his age, I still think there is plenty of value with him. A 2yr/$3.8M deal is what I estimate for him which would be $ well spent while Wheaton learns on the fly in a bigger role in ’14. At this point in his career, JCo would rather stick around here than go elsewhere, so it’s a win/win.
    4. Dwyer – all of the backup RBs are FAs so one of them will likely return and another will come via a late round pick I would assume. Dwyer makes the most sense out of him, Felix, and LSH. So, unless someone gives him a deal where he’ll be part of a platoon, I look for him to get a 2-3 yr deal for about $1.33M per.
    5. Velasco – his recovery from the injury will go a long way in determining his market value, but it probably helped the Steelers if they want him back because teams will likely shy away from him until after the draft. I can see a scenario where he’s signed in June after the space from Woodley frees up. Signing him would also give them a buffer in negotiations for an extension for Pouncey. Trust me on this, they should not overpay for Pouncey. While he is still a good C, his best season was his rookie year. I’d like to have both Pouncey and Velasco because both are C/G capable and one can be LG in ’15 if not sooner.
    6.Warren – signing him to a qualifying vet contract seems to be a no brainer.

    And that’s the 6 I think come back!

    Maybes would be McBriar if they get him for vet min. and Wallace if they don’t or can’t get Velasco (or if they think they can’t agree with Pouncey on an extension).

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  • Jim Underwood

    Good one. lol We simply have no choice butt to keep him using that reasoning.

  • Jim Underwood

    I think signing Warren is pretty important. Remember when he went down a couple years ago and our backup was non other than James Harrison? Yeah he snapped it like a friggin’ rocket launcher outta the back of the end zone and it cost us 2 points. lol

  • steeltown

    Well of course, I meant as a WR… Wheaton has been a beast himself on ST coverage units this year, he has quite a few tackles

  • steeltown

    That’s apples and oranges, Wheaton is behind Cotchery who has been Bens go to guy and leads the Team with 9TDs, that’s a little bit different than trying to pass Randle El who had a couple hundred yds and 0 TDs
    I’ll say this, a full offseason and (if) he enters the season healthy as the #3, im pretty sure we’ll see a big jump in production

  • Callentown

    Disagree with the assessment that Wheaton is a poor route runner. Agree that he’s a rookie and will get much better, hopefully early next year so we can let Sanders leave.

  • Callentown

    Nice! Always like when someone puts some real thought in. I don’t know about that many TE/WR’s, but good stuff.

    Personally, I’m on the fence. I feel the best about this team when they are Defense-solid. So, I think I’m hoping for Nix in the 1st rd. Then, WR/TE or CB.

    I think we are almost in desperate need for another GOOD coverage corner.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    The Steelers would be lucky to sign a 24 year old running back with 4 years experience generally regarded as an excellent pass protector. Running behind a shitty line, in only 6 starts managed 3 100 yard games and a career 4.2 yds/carry.

    You think they can get this guy for the minimum? Not a chance, especially not the way Tomlin has showed him no love and cut him in favor of two scrubs (costing him over half a million dollars). Good luck on your new team, Mr. Dwyer.

  • Mike Sweeney

    Wallace Wallace Wallace and McBriar please. A dude who bombed a 70 yarder and threw a 20 yd pass to Poulson on a crossing route, should get some consideration.

  • fightforjustice1

    Keep Worlds and get cap space by releasing Woodley.Bye, bye, Woodley. Overpaid. Comes into camp consistently out of shape and is injury plagued during the season because of it. He has been a total bust after his big signing.

  • Richard Edlin

    At this point, the top priority is probably an extension: Beachum looks to be a genuine LT and is coming into his third year … if the Steelers don’t extend him this year, isn’t he going to be a restricted free agent in 2015 and potentially gone the year after? If we could sign him to a reasonable 4 year contract this year, we would have made a positive step to build for a few more years down the line. Given that he’s 2 years into a $2.1m contract, I’d imagine he’d probably be happy to double his money in the next year or two, and get a reasonable sum afterwards.

    On the O-Line, I suspect Wallace will be a qualifying contract, and Velasco gets 2 years. If we are lucky, we’ll have a functional O-Line for a couple of years, and can survive any loss of Pouncey at the end of next year. (No way he gets traded but whilst those players don’t improve the Steelers’ negotiating position (it’s about other teams’ valuations of him, not the Steelers), it reduces the risk of stupid money).)

    I think Kiesel is back for the minimum for 1 year, and will start the season as a starter, alongside Woods (3 years) and McLendon, with a 2nd rounder in the wings. Cotchery will be above minimum as he had has a very productive season, and I’d be surprised if Allen wasn’t back (with Polamalu and Clark both gone). Taylor will be an interesting call but I can see him staying.

    The big holes are at OLB and CB … only one of these is likely to be addressed in the draft and the other will be a match-and-mend job for 2014 with experience picked up on the waiver wire.

  • Bill Molinaro

    Nice, succinct and easily understood article.

  • HopalongCassidy

    From this and previous statements, you seem to have an un-natural amount of affection for Pouncey. Do you carry his picture in your wallet ?

  • DrakePirate

    i Completley agree … I dont understand Dave’s view on Wallace .. he got his shot and he did more than enough to prove he is a capable back up …. SIGN HIM …. we went in this year with no depth at least we can learn and not make the same mistake again … these are the type of cheap contracts that make the FO look good … I mean what the heck Dave ??

  • Alan Felicia

    LOL! You do know there’s a difference between All-Pro and Pro-Bowl, correct?

  • DrakePirate

    i think he means sign him as a backup at back up prices

  • DrakePirate

    i would say by his performance that he has provided above average performance for a back up

  • DrakePirate

    i dont want clark at any price … i like DJ and think he should come to camp granted we dont draft a top TE & i hope we keep Wallace as a back up … we need 3 solid OL back ups and he seems to be one of them … Dwyer should be signed cheap 2-3 yr deal … i think he was Great this year in the small situations he was given … he seems to have had a change of attitude and he’s more than capable of starting a game or 2 if Bell is out for a spell

  • DrakePirate

    time to move on from Warren … thats a half a million we can save granted we can find a new replacement … every penny counts

  • DrakePirate

    i want Hood back if its a reasonable deal … dont see the need for Keisel … will be taking up too much playing time for people that need it, but i agree he would be good to mentor and depth purposes ONLY !

  • DrakePirate

    agree, but we will likely get a 4th rounder comp the following year … silver lining i guess

  • DrakePirate

    Wheaton will be fine … he had the short camp, broken finger/surgery and another break … i’ve seen enough to not have any worries… more upside than sanders

  • DrakePirate

    True … Wheaton will be just fine

  • DrakePirate

    Im on board with Wheaton .. he’s shown me enough to know he will be better than sanders

  • DrakePirate

    1st – Benjamin/Amaro
    2nd CB/S
    3rd S/CB

  • DrakePirate

    i think they will let LSH go … and pick up a late RD scat back

  • DrakePirate

    Nothing wrong with having quality backups

  • DrakePirate

    I like yours better than Daves

  • Eric Green

    OFFSEASON MOVES
    RELEASE OR LET WALK via FA
    Emmanuel sanders- (good but can be replaced easily for less money) aka mr. Wheaton time
    Lamarr Woodley- ( Jason worlids has earned his pay day and Woodley cant stay on the field for us) this will hurt our cap but worlids is the up and coming stud to go along with JJ
    Ryan Clark- at this point hes just a clean up “hard hitter” guy , does not impact opposing offenses
    Brett the beard keisel – would love to have him back for 1 year but highly unlikely i believe hes done
    Ziggy Hood – dependable back up but unless he takes a pay cut he shouldn’t be back

    RESIGN / Free agency
    Jason Worilds – arguably the best player on defense down the stretch, up and coming star with a good offseason
    Jerrico Cotchery – wont be a big market for him , hes a capable target for ben, should bring him back 1 more year
    Al Woods- up and coming player for us on the D-line , should see more time next year with good offseason
    Cameron Heyward- get him locked down for the next 5 years, dudes gonna be a beast!
    Veteran back up offensive gaurd via free agency
    Cody Wallace- I like the nastyness he plays with, good back up to Pouncey
    Will Allen- solid defender in pass an run , can take over for Clark for a year or two
    TROY- has two more years left in the tank, I hope we get it done its a joy watching him fly around with a cape

    DRAFT
    Rd 1= Mike Evans WR Texas A&M 6’5 230 lbs ( vincent jackson like)
    Rd 2= Kyle Fuller CB Virginia Tech 6’0 190 lbs (sam shields like)
    Rd 3= NO PICK
    Rd 4= Brent Urban DE Virginia 6’7 297 lbs lbs ( brett keisel like)
    Rd 5= Henry Josey RB Missouri 5′ 10 190 lbs ( reggie bush like) home run hitter
    Rd 6= Andrew Norwell, OT/G, Ohio State 6’6 315 lbs ( potential back up to ramon foster)
    Rd 7= STOLEN for tomlin incident at ravens game

    thats What I would love to see this off-season to make a run at it for next year ( L bell will rush for 1300 yards and we will back in the play offs ;)

  • Callentown

    Drake who do you like at CB/S, anyone specific?

  • Dorkewicz

    Suisham has been one of the only consistent players on our team in the last two years. He made 58 FGs in 63 attempts the past two years, and if it wasn’t for missing some easy ones in Oakland, he would’ve been perfect all year. And correction: he can’t kick a fg longer than 52.

  • Callentown

    I agree. Pouncey came out of the gate as a rookie in spectacular fashion. Since then, he has been good, not great.

    I think his strength is being able to get out and block using his athleticism. He’s a keeper, but probably not Pro Bowl caliber like we first thought year in and year out.

  • Steve

    True, very true. Steelers should get Pouncey at a reduced rate with 2 other center biting at the bit.

  • Steve

    Keisel can play, but he has been hurt way too much, you don’t get paid on the sidelines unless your a coach. Hood is a waist of money and time and needs to go.

  • Callentown

    Ya know Drake, when I saw Sanders fumble the ball and stand there with his arms out in disbelief instead of trying to get the ball, that was all she wrote for my backing of Sanders.

    He did similar things in other games too. Good player and had his best year, but I’ll take the pick and be okay saying seeya.

  • Callentown

    Kinda feels like both Hood and OT Adams are dead weight wasted picks. Let’s say goodbye and fill with people who can really play.

  • Steve

    Harrison could have made more money with the Steelers and messed up. Sanders picked up that bad Mike Wallace attitude and will not be missed.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Not sure what this instant love affair for Wallace has come from but the guy hasn’t even played a whole season at the position for us and if not for Valesco going down we wouldn’t even care.

    Folks need to get real. Wallace is a journeyman and to compare him to Pouncey is border line idiotic. Pouncey has not been the same since his injury that kept him out of the Superbowl.

    He’s a guy that will not make excuses but it will be interesting to see how he comes back after this injury. He definitely needs to step his game up but that may be health related so yes, we need to consider signing Wallace or Valesco. Its a toss up for me.

  • Steve

    Wallace would make a good Guard. He a road grader and that is what we need, but his pass blocking is suspect.

  • Steve

    With 3 center, surly one of them can long snap.

  • Robert Alaniz

    You are wrong. In fact on one play, Wheaton beat his man and Ben went right after him earlier in the season without looking off the safety and the ball was intercepted.

    I suggest you pay more attention to Wheaton because I can tell you right now, he will be better than Sanders in two years tops if not by next year.

  • Josh Knepshield

    Are you drunk? Austin Seferian-Jenkins has had off the field issues. There is no way IN HELL the Steelers take Colt Lyerla. He probably won’t be drafted because of his off the field problems. The Steelers don’t want a cocaine addict and another headache on the team.

  • Alan Felicia

    Wrong about what? Yes, he’s a speedy receiver, we all know that. Wheaton need to work on route running. This offense is more quick passing, ball control, west coast type and if you read what I said above during the Green Bay Wheaton did not garner a single target as he replaced an injured Sanders. As a Steeler fan, here’s hoping your prediction comes to fruition. However, Wheaton has alot of work to do in the off season.

  • chris ward

    Cotchery should be re-signed for at least a 2 yr deal after having 10 TD’s in 2013. Don’t see Keisel and Clark coming back, Steelers need to get younger on the defensive side of the ball.

  • Chad H

    Don’t forget Carter and Curtis Brown

  • J-DUB

    My Steelers Off-Season:
    Extend: Roethlisberger,Polamalu,Miller
    Restructure: Woodley,Timmons,Brown
    Pay Cut: Taylor
    Cut: Levi Brown,Foote
    Sign: Hood(3/9M),Cotchery(2/3M),Warren,Velasco,Dwyer,Woods(League Min for rest)

  • Jazz

    People! Pouncey is over-rated. Velasco and Cody Wallace did a much better job than Pouncey did last year. Truth be told, he wasn’t playing that well during the preseason. It’s time Pouncey stop getting all this credit for what he accomplished during his rookie season. He is not that good, his brother is much better.

  • Jazz

    Bravo! Bravo!

  • Johnny Loose

    he kicked a 60 yarder in camp last summer!! lol. Sushi isn’t going anywhere though

  • DrakePirate

    Ya i remember that .. something about him just rubbed me the wrong way, he wasn’t bad … but i think we can do better for a #2 !

  • DrakePirate

    Hood is just fine .. we can’t fill all our needs at once .. he’s dependable and steady for now .. Adams deserves one more year … after that if he still doesn’t click i agree .. throw him to the curb

  • Chad H

    Sorry do some more research. Hard to say what will happen in rd 1. There will be a run on QBs I think 3 to 4 by the time Steelers pick. So we will going best player available. If they are there: Mike Evans or Anthony Barr.

  • Mike Carroll

    Nice post. I don’t see Sanders as a top 5 free agent WR either. It will be interesting to see how the market values him.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Now come on now, Allen. We all know very well Pouncey is much over hyped. He is good…not real good, certainly not irreplaceable.

  • Chad H

    We will have a comp pick in the 3rd. An extra pick in the 4th and 6th and I don’t see us losing our pick anymore. Ravens lost out on their own and after the KC/SD botched calls.

  • Mike Carroll

    Nice point about Wheaton being behind a much better receiver than Brown was in his rookie year.

    Let’s go Markus, we need you next year!

  • Rubem Dornas

    I like Dwyer also. I’m expecting that he can return next year.

  • Rubem Dornas

    Reasonable. The compensatory pick at 3rd round should be a Safety (or 2nd round, changing with CB position).

  • joed32

    He only played in 9 games and had 16 receptions. He didn’t dress for the other 7 games.

  • joed32

    Minimum wage for a Rookie next year is $420,000. For a 9 year vet like Warren will be next year it’s $855,000. And that would give you your saving of $435,000. If they bring in a non rookie the savings become negligible though. It would have to be a rook.

  • Jollyrob68

    Just because he’s considered one of the best doesn’t mean his actions have proved it completely. I love Pouncey but he also is getting a lot of hype. He needs to stay healthy and for that reason I’m signing our Healthy starting Center from 2013 Cody Wallace to a 2 yr deal.

  • Jollyrob68

    Keep Both. But Honestly Wallace is the only healthy Center and he’s much better than anyone thought. He’s nasty and I like that.

  • Jollyrob68

    Once ago all pro due to hype & Default more than playing time.

  • Jollyrob68

    If Ben di that more often perhaps we’d be in the playoffs this year and would already have #7.

  • Jollyrob68

    Agreed plus Wallace. Velasco is rehabbing so he’ll be back at camp. Right know we don’t even have a center for OTA’s. Don’t say Beachum because he’s our Left Tackle.

  • Jollyrob68

    Keisel’s body is breaking down and as long as he’s on the roster the older coaches are going to play him over the younger,healthier and better player. I’m glad he was in the right position a few times the last two games but he didn’t attack the way he usually does due to his foot injury. Love him but time to move on.

  • Jollyrob68

    I’d want Woods,Hood & Arnfelt. We still need DLineman to rotate. Fresh Blood. It’s Time.

  • Jollyrob68

    Niether are wasted picks. Hood was striped down and taught to play there way. He was a Gino Atkins type player coming out of college.
    Adams is a Right tackle, Play him at right tackle and we’d run wild on that right side.

  • DrakePirate

    I really can’t give an educated pick on that yet … i saw some mock drafts with Tre Boston/NC and Jean Baptiste – Nebraska … both looked interesting, good size and mid rounds … I am going to start researching the DB prospects soon … is there anybody you are high on ?

  • DrakePirate

    thats exactly what I’m saying … bring in a rook … i mean c’mon its snapping the ball how hard can it be … i totally disagree with Dave on that issue … thats basically an extra player we get worth of value if we bring somebody new in !

  • r4kolb

    I guess if DeCastro dove into the back of Cody Wallace’s knee he would have not blown it out. Don’t be an idiot.

  • r4kolb

    Yup Bens fault. We should release him and play Landry. Again idiotic.

  • SteelersDepot

    What don’t you understand? An invite means signing him. Do you people even read?

  • r4kolb

    Funny thing is I remember thinking in their rookie years how AB impressed me more then Sanders but Sanders got more playing time. The reason they said Sanders got more time was because he was a better route runner then AB. We all have seen where AB is now so there is hope. Also I personally think Moye is going to be as good if not better then Sanders. Don’t ask me why but I think Moye will be the #3 sometime next year. Then again I thought Gilreath had a chance too so….

  • r4kolb

    If Sanders is gone he better end up #2 before mid season or AB will have to break ALL the receiving records by year end!

  • r4kolb

    Nice? Jenkins is the projected 3rd best TE. Eric Ebron should be there at 15 but I don’t see them going TE in first round. Is it because she’s blonde?

  • srdan

    If he’s paying, I dont care. LOL

    I think that people are missing one huge point in this whole discussion. Wallace costs the minimum, Pouncey will need to be top 10 paid player on the team. Huge difference on a cap strapped team for what difference? Bell was running the ball and BB didn’t take a lot of sacks at the end of the year. So why look to improve something that really doesn’t need fixing with pouncey, assuming the last 5 or so games weren’t a farce.

    If someone told me that the cost of Worldis was releasing Pouncey I would approve of this move. My only issue with the move would be the fact that I have to retire another steelers jersey to the back of the closet! 56 would go right on top of 55 lol.

  • James

    Did you watch the pre-season games? We brought in the top rated rookie long snapper and his play practically won the job for Warren.
    Don’t underestimate the job that he does and the stability that Warren brings to the position

  • LatrWildcat

    Dave,
    Just want to say I’ve been an avid follower of steelersdepot for about 6 months now, and I love the insights the website brings! Regarding the free agents to be, I agree with every single analysis, with one exception: David Johnson. Thought he showed some nice receiving ability this year, and with the apparent decline in Heath’s blocking ability over the past two years, I think it’s important to have a 3rd TE who can block. That, of course, is DJ’s strong suit.

  • Callentown

    I agree Adams will be back. I just don’t think he will ever be more than a backup lineman and should NEVER be at LT since he can’t pass block.

  • Callentown

    Yes, but we would not be able to pass protect from that side. That’s the thing about Adams. He’s strong in run blocking, as you state. But god-awful in pass protection.

  • Callentown

    I haven’t seen Baptiste play, but I really like his size when we have to cover the bigger WR/TE’s of the league. He’s who I would have listed here – an interesting prospect more than anything but I’m with you on not being educated enough on who’s there yet.

  • Callentown

    As appealing as a big WR-type is, I seriously think the offense did very well towards the end of the year when compared to our defense.

    I’d go Defense in 1st and second taking a DL/NT and CB.

  • Alex Nidetch

    Jeff Saturday made the Pro Bowl last yr after being demoted. that is one reason why I do not watch the pro bowl

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    So your saying that wallace or velasco are better than Foster? Nope.

  • Steeler Fanatic

    Bye Ziggy. Bye Ryan… Larry Foote could return. The guy i would like to possibly see back is Levi Brown… Why? They can bring him back at a salary cut, if he is healthy he would be a good insurance policy for Beachum… I mean, Brown has been hurt the last two years, so get him healthy and it could be a good move

  • DrakePirate

    i liked both their videos on you tube but obviously haven’t seen enough of them yet … its really hard evaluating DBs cuz even the great ones get beaten a lot … last one i really liked coming out of college was patrick peterson … goes to show how few great ones there are.

  • DrakePirate

    i like that !

  • DrakePirate

    i guess i just dont think that its that important … i mean the way i look at it is there are almost a couple hundred div 1 teams that do just fine with a LS … how hard can it be to pick up somebody given the proper search … and its not like Warren is knocking it out of the park lately.

  • DrakePirate

    Some of us might not be as contract savvy as you … or maybe the word “Perhaps” as opposed to “Wise” made it appear as u were tentative …

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