IX- It appears that the Steelers are holding off on negotiations with their 2011 free agents. It has been reported that they want to see what the new collective bargaining agreement entails before making deals. From the sounds of it, this will not have an effect on the Steelers going ahead and tagging LaMarr Woodley. On an odd note, the Steelers have opened negotiations with one FA, OT Jonathan Scott. I guess that makes sense because Scott is likely going to get a low ball deal either way, but it still seems odd. If you are not going to talk with the rest of them, then talk to no one.
Anyway, what we can all take away from this is that the CBA is sucking out what little fun there is at this point in the off season, free agency. This could also put the Steelers behind in the talks between FAs outside of the organization. That FA cornerback that we are all dreaming of could be drastically affected by this crappy situation with the CBA.
X- They can take away the fun of free agency, but they cannot take away the jubilation associated with the draft. The Steelers will probably look to get younger on the defensive line with this draft, specifically at nose tackle. Casey Hampton likely has 2 years or so left in his tank, but after that the Steelers cannot expect him to play at a high level. At defensive end, we have some good depth, but outside of Ziggy Hood and Steve McLendon (you can include Sunny Harris, but he has not been able to crack the 53 consistently) they are all over 30.
The Steelers may use a pick or two late in the draft to bring in some talent that can be molded into future replacements for some of these spots. I think that NT is definitely a must in this draft, to give a good time window for the draftee to beef up and develop into our system. This article does a nice job ranking a few of the top prospects for a 3-4 defense here. I have only gotten time to watch tape on Phil Taylor and I was really impressed with his ability to handle blockers and still make plays. Maybe some of our draft gurus can give us some insight on the other guys.
XIII- If I could ask Daniel Sepulveda one question, I would ask him at what point do you think "fate" becomes "being injury prone". I do not know the answer, but you would have to lean toward the latter when you consider the type of injury that Sepulveda has incurred. Twice. To the same knee. Oh yeah, and that is the knee on the leg you make your money worth.
Okay, I am just being cynical, but the Steelers have to be worried at least a little bit. Heck, they must have been worried even before this year, because they did not put in a big effort to keep him around. Last year they only put a 1 year tender on him, which he eventually signed. Tenders are kind of odd, because they say, "we kind of want you on the team, but if we can get draft picks for you instead we will take those." For the record, I like Sepulveda. I think he is a good player who is a tremendous man off the field. I would love to see him stay in black and gold, but I would also like to see our punter stay healthy.
XIV- Well, its news, but not really. The Steelers officially franchise tagged LaMarr Woodley. I say it is not news, because A) we already heard dozens of reports about this happening and B) franchise tags do not really mean anything because there is no established CBA for next season. I guess this is all just a formality, and it will just prevent other teams from trying to contact him. I am still really interested to see where the Steelers will go now with Mr. Woodley. Are they tagging him to give themselves more time to negotiate with him or are they just holding on to him another year in order to develop Jason Worilds?
XL- I shed a single manly tear when I read the first sentence of this article. Brett Keisel is planning to "shear" his epic beard for charity. I cannot be too down about it, because he is putting money towards cancer programs at a Children's hospital (a subject that touches to close to home for me) in Pittsburgh. You can wipe away those manly tears though, because Brett hinted that he will likely start a new beard in preparation for next year's playoff run. You have to wonder though, what will happen to his beard's facebook profile in the meantime.
(beard awesomeness not displayed at scale (as if that were possible))
XLIII- We will not get a Lombardi for this, but it is one of those nice facts to keep in your back pocket for arguments sake. The Steelers have had a top 10 defense in all of the last 10 years in the NFL, which no other team has matched. The Ravens were the closes with 9 seasons, but missed out in 2002, finishing at 22nd. I know this goes by yards per game, but oh well. I think the more impressive numbers, is that over the same period of time the Steelers have finished in the top 3 of rushing defenses 9 times. Nice! Most of that can be contributed to the FA we just resigned: