Player: Greg Warren
Position: Long Snapper
Experience: 9 Years
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2013 Salary Cap Hit: $620,000
2013 Season Breakdown: Usually the only time you have much to say about a long snapper, it’s going to be something bad. And generally those bad things are bad snaps that result in a fumble and a turnover, as we nearly saw when the Pittsburgh Steelers played the Cincinnati Bengals late in the season.
That’s not often something that can be said about the Steelers’ veteran long snapper, Greg Warren—at least not in terms of resulting in fumbled punts. In fact, I can’t recall a time one of his snaps directly resulted in a completely busted play.
That only happens when he gets injured and outside linebacker James Harrison is forced to pretend to be a long snapper.
But the 2013 recap of Warren’s season reads very much like the recap of his 2012 season. He had one somewhat questionable snap on a field goal that may have contributed to one of two misses by Shaun Suisham in a game in which the Steelers lost by three points. He also missed an assignment that resulted in a free rusher up the middle of the formation and a blocked Mat McBriar punt.
Those things do happen from time to time, though you don’t like when they each happen in consecutive seasons. But finding a quality long snapper is more difficult than it seems, and when you have a decent one, you can find yourself too afraid to experiment with somebody less proven.
Long snappers do not generally factor much in the stats sheets, but Warren, on the other hand, is probably below average in terms of covering punts when it comes to long snappers.
There are long snappers that actually put in some effort into running down the field and clogging a lane, if not making a tackle. This is an area of weakness for Warren that I doubt will ever improve at this point in his career.
Free Agency Outlook: As I wrote above, when you have a competent long snapper, you usually don’t want to tweak things too much and tempt fate. The long snapper position is so limited that one mistake becomes greatly magnified. The mistakes of a long snapper always have the chance of changing the game, whether it results in missed points or turnovers.
The Steelers used one of their first futures contracts outside of the organization to bring in a long snapper, but realistically, you know Warren is going to be re-signed, and you know he’s probably going to keep his job, as he did against Luke Ingram last year, unless the Steelers become really, really, really strapped for cash. And even then…
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I don’t know, it seems dating back to 2012 there has been a couple miscues that can be blamed on the usually very dependable Warren. I would guess he gets re-signed again, but if the guy that is brought in to compete in camp proves to be a consistent and also cheaper option I could see it happening. Warren will be 33yrs old soon, it’s only a matter of time before they find a capable replacement
I agree with you about the cost/age aspect, but remember Mike Tomlin does not like change. He likes guys he has a comfort level with. I think he’d almost have to be forced into it by an injury.
i’m going to go out on a limb and say he loses his job this season … its not that we need to improve in that area as he is steady, but i think its a relatively easy position to fill and we could use the extra cash.
What extra cash? A one-year qualifying veteran offer comes with cheap cap charge.
do we not save 400k of cap space if a rookie wins the job ? (veteran salary vs rookie )
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