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A Look At What The Steelers May Have Offered Bills Free Agent DE Alex Carrington


The status of Buffalo Bills free agent defensive lineman Alex Carrington currently remains in limbo following his visits with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders, and now one has to wonder what kind of money he is looking for at this point.

First, it’s important to remember that Carrington only played in three games last season before tearing a quad muscle that ended up putting him out for the entire year. Prior to the injury, he started all of nine games for the Bills since being drafted in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. In the 44 games that he’s played in, he’s registered 53 total tackles, four sacks and 6 defensed passes.

None of the above equates to him reasonably asking for much more than the minimum.

Much like former Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood, Carrington looked like he was a square peg that was being forced to fit into a round hole with the Bills, who consistently seemed to be changing their fronts from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and back ever since he was drafted. Thanks to all of that changing, however, we now know that Carrington’s best fit is as a 4-3 defensive tackle or a 3-4 defensive end allowed to play a lot of 3-technique. He’s not a 4-3 defensive end.

Should Carrington return to Buffalo, who should know by now how to use him, he wouldn’t be a starter as those jobs belong to defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus. Because of that, he’s not going to get starter money from them.

While the Raiders might could use a player like Carrington inside, they’re likely not wanting to promise him a starting job or give him decent money until after the draft. Let’s face it, if the Raiders don’t draft a quarterback in the first round, their fifth overall pick could go several different ways. That might be a little high for Aaron Donald, but, boy, he sure would fit that defense.

So back to the Steelers. One would think that if they signed Carrington he would be the starter opposite Cameron Heyward, but that’s just us speculating from the outside. It might take him some time to get acclimated to the defense, so they would be foolish to guarantee him anything but a spot on the 53 man roster.

Right now, Carrington has a ton of potential that just finished rehabbing. If I know the Steelers, they offered him a contract a little less than the one they gave nose tackle Steve McLendon nearly a year ago. That deal was for three years and totaled out at $7.25 million. It also included a $1.675 million signing bonus and a first-year base salary of $900,000. Oh, and he wasn’t coming off of a season-ending injury.

So based on the above, I could see Carrington being offered a three-year, $6 million contract from the Steelers with a $1.5 million signing bonus and a first year base salary of $730,000, which is the minimum for his accrued seasons. That would produce a $1.23 million cap charge in 2014 and would certainly fit their budget.

If I’m close, then that’s why Carrington decided to leave without signing so that he could shop that deal around to other teams. We’ll see whether or not he returns.

Would you pay Carrington more than a $2 million yearly average based on everything you currently know about him? Will another team?

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About Dave Bryan

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

    2 million a year is what I was thinking!
    I think the FO might be scared of another Levi Brown, too. A player they need that get hurts right away and is of no use!
    I’m kind of in panic mode when it comes to the DE, so I’d give him a little more guaranteed!

  • Ray

    Maybe he wants a 1 year deal in hopes of raising his stock

  • 804Stiller

    Yeah, I would think he would really consider our offer on the strength of him having the best opportunity to start with us. At least, we might get the chance to match his best offer. At the end of the day, I don’t want to overpay Carrington or Cotchery. I’d feel good about both of them but we can’t stretch too much for either. As much as I like Cotch, he was a non-starter on an 8-8 team. We can’t overpay for that. 10 TDs was almost double the highest output of his career. So, you have to view that as more of an anomaly or more opportunity due to Heath working his way back to 100%.

  • Brian Tollini

    Exactly what I was wondering…

  • SteelersDepot

    Hey, I would be fine with giving him a one-year deal for $730,000 with a giant carrot hanging over him.

  • dave

    I’d be fine with 3 years, $6 mil with the first year hit of $1.25. And…if the cap goes up as predicted, a $2 mil cap hit will be peanuts for a decent starter or even a backup in 2015, 2016

  • Steelers12328882

    Well, we want him to be the starter, right? Didn’t we give Cam Thomas 2 mil/year to be backup? I would think 3 mil/year is more appropriate. If Keisel was definitely back, and Carrington had to fight for the starting spot it would be different, but we have no starter currently, and Carrington knows that. That puts him in a power position when negotiating knowing that we’re slightly desperate.

  • gene mann

    if they view him as a starter it got to be 2 Mil

  • William Weaver

    Offer him incentive laden contract. He gets good money and we have protection if he fails.

  • Virdin Barzey

    I’m only for the one year deal if they find someone in the draft to replace him.

  • 243546

    The Titans gave Al Woods $2M/year. It appears that Woods was drawing more interest early in free agency, than Carrington. The one think Carrington does have going for him, is that he won a starting role last year. Then he got hurt.

    If Carrington feels he’s worth more than that, and the Steelers like him, then let him prove his value. Include a roster bonus to the second or third year. That would increase the value of the contract. If Carrington turns out to be worth more than $2M/year, then he will be around to collect the bonus. If not, then the team can release him with little to no dead money. Win-win.

  • patrick Mayfield

    From the player’s perspective he’s looking to make his money on that second contract. As he’ dinged up he might be looking for a shorter transitional deal while the team might be looking to lock in some savings with a 3-4 year deal. Good compromise might be a roster bonus in 2015 to compensate him if he does prove to be starter material.

  • srdan

    If he performs, we would have to pay two good young DEs next offseason. Not a bad problem to have, but it would be a challenge.

  • steeltown

    $2MIL per would be solid, hell I’d consider offering him $2.5MIL, I was originally thinking he would be seeking more and in reality im sure he is, but he shouldn’t expect much more than that. The problem arises when you bring Cleveland into the conversation who can unjustifiably offer him the bank…

  • treeher

    If it was published, I missed it. Did he take a physical and pass it with no lingering questions or concerns? That type of injury often results in permanent weakness in a very important muscle that lifts the leg/knee.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    3/$6M might have been a fair offer, but now that he’s shopping I’d drop that to 3/$5M or 2/$4M with less bonus. We did all-right at the spot last year with a young career backup, a first round bust and an aging, injured vet. We do need a player or two there, but we can easily do without Alex Carrington.

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