FanPost

Steelers Free Agency Outcomes

It is almost impossible to establish a completely accurate analysis of the possible outcomes of all the roster moves that have and will take place this current offseason and potential impact on the coming seasons from these moves. But I will try to make a some sense of what has been happening and what could happen.

James Harrison

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via fantasyknuckleheads.com

His release seems almost certain at this point and the effect on the upcoming season is almost certain to be devastating emotionally, in reagrds to our love and fondness for him. But there is a flip side. Yes he was struggling with injuries this past year and they weren't just incidental injuries like Colon has experienced. They were wear and tear injuries that are a result of his play style, using relentless lower body drive while his upperbody would be getting pushed in the awkward positions which could easily result in strains on his back. The leg injuries are pretty common and don't raise too much flag for me but the back speaks volumes.

I have no doubt that he would produce for us if he returned this season but I do believe that eventually there will be a fall off in his production which is natural. So lets say statistically his numbers go down such as sacks and forced fumbles, which is a huge measure of what he has produced for us. His current replacement on the roster is projected to be Jason Worilds who was one sack shy of matching Harrisons sack number last season. If Worilds starts it could be argued that he may close the gap in statistical production between the two as he will not attract as many double teams and he is a younger player who is rising in productivity.

We cannot know for sure the outcome of this because if he is released he will get picked up by another team for a year or two and he will still be productive but his best years are behind him. If he falls off playing for another team it will likely be the result of a change of scheme, but his success was more the result of his winning 1on1 or 1on2 battles in the trenches so I doubt that is a valid argument. If he does good here, or elsewhere then good for him and whatever team he is on. But, for us, the risk is still huge for keeping him on a big contract due to age and risk. Whatever money he makes these next couple of years is mostly going to be based on past maintained performances and even though he still has the ability it likely won't be as consistant in the results.

Keenan Lewis

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via db66abc2c256b763aaef-ce5d943d4869ae027976e5ad085dd9b0.r76.cf2.rackcdn.com

Keenan Lewis may be able to get retained with the likely loss of Harrison and I would argue that there is more value on Lewis than harrison mostly because of age and future impact in the long term. He was a solid playmaker/starter who was receiving heavy criticism coming into the season, with huge doubts when he was announced the starter. He proved all of us wrong here on BTSC further proving that the Steelers coaching staff is much more intelligent than us. If we keep him then we all but secure our future at the cornerback position and would seldonm have to look at it again in acquisitions. If we don't then we will have another question mark as far as depth in that position.

William Gay was resently signed for three years at a relatively low price, and the way he played for us in 2011, he could actually provide competition for Lewis, and/or Cortez Allen for the starting/nickel positions. He had a fall off last year at Arizona but the Cardinals aren't the Steelers and they dont have coach "Dad", and the great Lake. I wouldn't go as far as to say he was bad last year just not good. Either way if we secure Keenan Lewis than we will definitely secure our future at the position but with the signing of Gay, the loss of Lewis wouldn't result in a glaring team need. Ike Taylor is getting older and i expect this is his last year or second to last with the Steelers. Its time for us to move forward and Ike Taylor's replacement is likely already on the team.

Larry Foote

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via i.usatoday.net

Larry Foote leaving could likely have the biggest impact of all the players that are leaving the defense this offseason, only rivaled by Keenan Lewis. Fortunately he will likely not get many if any looks in free agency which will keep his asking price very low and I have no doubt he will be back this coming season. With Spence remaining unproven and still questionable in health, and Stevenson Sylvester, tagged by members of BTSC as being unremarkable and inconsistant, there is a definitive hole at the postion next to Lawrence Timmons. At least in our eyes.

Larry foote was a staple in this defense last year even if he wasn't a star. It seemed like Timmons might have already taken over the role of Buck as Foote seemed to be the penetrating and elusive Mack despite being less athletic than we would prefer. Spence's return may be good for the team in terms of depth and eventually competition/contributions, but this coming season will be like his true rookie season, plus a year of studying and an extra preseason. Overall we have little depth at ILB and the loss of foote could be detrimental. I don't care what people say about rookies from the draft, we have never relied on a rookie to start on defense and shouldn't start now. Foote will be back but I wanted to give this a look anyway.

Casey Hampton

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via drunkathlete.com

The flattering picture above cracks me up. On a serious note Casey Hampton has done wonders for our linebackers and for our defense. Outside of previous backup, hopeful starter, steve Mclendon, I feel like depth at Nose tackle is lacking and with dumbass Alameda Ta'amu destined for jail at some point, there should be plenty of concern. I am confident in McLendon's developement and contributions last year and Casey has been falling off in recent seasons, specifically in the early parts of the season. We can do without him as a starter but if he comes back he will likely retain his starting role. Along with Larry Foote, Casey Hampton will be allowed to test free agency but if little or no offers are sent his way, which I expect few will offer him much, then Steelers will get him back for a little over the Vet minimum. If he leaves then we address that in the draft for depth and give Steve the shot at starter. Either way his impact is mostly based on depth and not starter production.

Johnathan Dwyer/Isaac Redman

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via www2.pictures.zimbio.com

Coupling these two together is a no brainer for me. They both have respect for eachother and they almost mirror eachother in terms of play style. The difference being that Redman gains power through strength and is better when not being elusive and running through tackles, and Dwyer gains power through momentum and has minor elusive footwork that keeps him moving forward. Both are power backs, just have different styles. If they were combined into one back we could call him Bettis but we aren't so lucky. We will keep at least one and need to keep one. Keep Dwyer or Redman if we get a back in the draft. If we keep both that's fine too but they are so similar the coaching staff seems very undecided on which should start. If we keep mendenhall then shoot me in the face. i don't like a bad attitude on the team. A flawed attitude is acceptible but Rashard Mendenhall has displayed enough to constitute an end in his tour here. I am not going to discuss Mendy or Mike Wallace because they both have been discussed like crazy.
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