The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over, but if you think the news surrounding the black-and-gold is over — think again. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.
Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at how tight end Jesse James, The Outlaw, is considered a very hot commodity on the open market, if you are looking for a player under the age of 25.
James, who is entering his 5th year in the league, will be a tough decision for the Steelers this offseason when it comes to whether they let him hit the open market, or lock him up before someone can snatch him up?
Let’s get to the news:
2019 NFL Free Agency: The 10 Best 25-and-Under Players in This Year’s Class
By: Maurice Moton, Bleacher Report
TE Jesse James, Unrestricted
- Over the last three terms, tight end Jesse James held a prominent role within the Pittsburgh Steelers’ aerial attack. He recorded 112 receptions for 1,133 yards and eight touchdowns in that period.
- Despite Vance McDonald’s increased involvement in the offense, James logged a career-high 423 receiving yards and averaged 14.1 yards per reception with a 76.9 percent catch rate. He’s also a solid pass-blocker who can help seal the edge against a top-notch defender.
- According to Behind the Steel Curtain writer Nick Farabaugh, James’ talents may be too rich for Pittsburgh’s front office. “He is the peak of solid and can catch and block extremely well,” he wrote. “The question is did he price himself out of Pittsburgh? I would bring him back at the right price, but I am not overpaying.”
- With McDonald on the books through 2021, James may land a bigger salary elsewhere, though a strong draft class at the position may cap his value. He’s an option for clubs that want a potential big-play target.
The 1 Free Agent Each NFL Team Must Re-Sign This Offseason
By: Gary Davenport, Bleacher Report
Guard Ramon Foster
As Joe Ritter reported for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Steelers guard David DeCastro feels that Ramon Foster is a key piece of the Steelers offensive line.
”He’s been awesome,” DeCastro said. “He’s been as steady as ever. He always brings a good laugh to the party, and he gets serious when he needs to be. He does a great job of being that leader in the locker room. He’s the guy you see and look up to since I’ve been here.”
It’s hard to argue with him. Foster was one of two Pittsburgh linemen who played every offensive snap in 2018. He’s also one of four players on Pittsburgh’s roster who was there the last time the Steelers played in the Super Bowl.
Granted, at 33, Foster’s a lot closer to the end of his career than the beginning. But the former undrafted free agent is a quality starter with 131 starts under his belt and the Steelers’ only full-time starter about to hit the open market.
The Steelers need to make a concerted effort to prevent that from happening with a short-term deal.
Before Joe Flacco leaves AFC North, a look at his 3 best, worst games vs. Steelers
By: Joe Flacco, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Joe Flacco’s 11-year run as Baltimore Ravens quarterback officially will end March 13, when he will be traded to the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round pick.
The announcement Wednesday of the impending trade signifies an end to the second-longest tenure among AFC North quarterbacks, with Flacco trailing only Ben Roethlisberger in terms of continuous service with his team.
In his career, Flacco won 10 games and lost 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the regular season. He threw 25 touchdown passes against 12 interceptions. In the playoffs, he beat the Steelers once in three tries, with all three games at Heinz Field.
The following is a look at the worst of times and the best of times (in chronological order) for Flacco when he suited up against the black and gold:
THREE WORST GAMES
Dec. 14, 2008: Steelers 13, Ravens 9: This game is remembered for Santonio Holmes’ touchdown catch that almost wasn’t with 43 seconds left that finished off a comeback and helped give the Steelers the AFC North title. Flacco didn’t help his cause by playing the worst game of his rookie season. He completed 11 of 28 passes for 115 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions for a 22.2 passer rating.
Jan. 18, 2009: Steelers 23, Ravens 14: The most memorable play of the win that sent the Steelers to the Super Bowl was Troy Polamalu’s 40-yard interception return for a touchdown with 4 minutes, 24 seconds left that established the final score. It was one of three interceptions Flacco threw in the game, and Tyrone Carter sealed the win with a pick in the final minute. Flacco finished with 13 completions in 30 attempts for 141 yards. He had a 18.2 passer rating that stands as the second-worst of his 15 career playoff games.
Jan. 15, 2011: Steelers 31, Ravens 24: The Steelers advanced to the AFC title game for the fourth time in seven seasons by coming back from a 21-7 first-half deficit. Flacco and the Ravens had 28 nets yards in the second half. Flacco was sacked three times by James Harrison and five times overall. He completed 16 of 30 passes for 125 yards.
THREE BEST GAMES
Sept. 11, 2011: Ravens 35, Steelers 7: Fresh off their appearance in Super Bowl XL, the Steelers were thumped by Flacco and the Ravens in the season opener at M&T Bank Stadium. A 27-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin just 1:32 into the game got the rout started. Flacco also threw touchdown passes to Ray Rice and Ed Dickson while completing 17 of 29 passes for 224 yards with no interceptions. His 117.6 passer rating was the highest among his 21 regular-season games against the Steelers.
Jan. 3, 2015: Ravens 30, Steelers 17: After two playoff losses to the Steelers, Flacco got his only win over them. It also was his fifth consecutive playoff victory overall. Flacco played an efficient game, completing 18 of 29 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. An 11-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith in the third quarter provided a 20-9 lead, and a 21-yarder to Crockett Gilmore midway through the fourth quarter put the Ravens ahead by 15 points.
Sept. 30, 2018: Ravens 26, Steelers 14: When Flacco threw for 363 yards in a late-September win at Heinz Field, little did he know it would be his penultimate victory with the Ravens. The win improved the Ravens to 3-1 and dropped the Steelers to 1-2-1. Flacco completed 28 of 42 attempts and threw two first-half touchdown passes. Two weeks later, Flacco directed a 21-0 victory against the Tennessee Titans, his last win in Baltimore before rookie Lamar Jackson took over. Thanks to the Steelers’ late-season collapse and an infusion of confidence provided by Jackson, the Ravens overtook their divisional rival down the stretch to win the AFC North.