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Rooney: Steelers don’t want to “tear things apart”

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Steelers club president Art Rooney recognizes this will be a challenging offseason.

The team has salary cap issues and a number of veterans that cost more than they are worth. Their aging defense needs to be re-tooled.

Rooney told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette the Steelers will not “tear things apart” and start over from scratch.

“Obviously, we have some decisions to make with certain players and their contracts,” Rooney said.

Let’s run through a few of them.

Hines Ward: Rooney has already spoken with Ward about his future. Ward will likely have to take a pay cut just for a chance to stay.

Chris Hoke and Aaron Smith, defensive linemen: Local reports indicate Hoke will retire. Smith also seems likely to retire if the Steelers don’t bring him back. Both players are free agents. Smith has meant so much to the team, the Steelers could offer him a low-cost one-year deal to see how he looks in camp.

Casey Hampton, nose tackle: He’s due almost $5 million and is coming off an ACL injury at age 35. Hampton is a candidate to get released if he won’t take a pay cut.

Ryan Clark, safety: The 32-year-old is still playing at a high level and relatively affordable at $3 million. We’d expect him to be back.

James Farrior, linebacker: Farrior is due a reasonable sum of $2.825 million. Still, Farrior is 37 years old. If the Steelers want to get younger and faster, moving on from Farrior wouldn’t be a surprise.

Larry Foote, linebacker: He’s due $3 million, which may be too much for the role he plays on the team. Perhaps the Steelers could keep Farrior and dump Foote.

Brett Keisel, defensive end: He played far too well in 2011 to consider cutting him at a salary under $3 million, even if he’s coming off a serious groin injury. His beard also provides far-reaching intangible benefits.

Chris Kemoeatu and Johnathan Scott, offensive line: Here are some relatively easy cuts. We’d be shocked if the Steelers kept Kemoeatu at $2.4 million or Scott at $2.2 million.

Bryant McFadden, cornerback: He’s no longer a starter, so he’s probably no longer worth keeping at $2.5 million.

We don’t think the Steelers will consider cutting a bigger name like James Harrison. The rest of their salary numbers are manageable.

Pittsburgh needs to trim the fat, though, so they can start to re-sign players like Mike Wallace. Rooney called Wallace’s next contract a priority.

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55 Responses to “Rooney: Steelers don’t want to “tear things apart””
  1. pongonfl says: Jan 17, 2012 6:53 PM

    This is one of the best run franchises in the game or any game.
    I was shaking my head when they cut that MVP receiver that went to the Jets. Look how that turned out for them.
    I cannot imagine they will not do the best thing for the franchise, I guess it will be interesting to see what that turns out to be.

  2. unfkwthabl says: Jan 17, 2012 6:55 PM

    I remember when roddy white was saying that there were only a few people on a team making $1 million or more and that the players should get more.

    Im counting 11 names here all north of $2.5 million and that doesnt include harrisons big deal or #7

    Now this article says that most of them are not worth what they are being paid…. so who is right?

  3. knowerofallthings says: Jan 17, 2012 6:56 PM

    Won’t matter – they’ll be looking up at Baltimore and Cinci for years to come…

  4. earthtopft says: Jan 17, 2012 6:59 PM

    Two words for you, Steelers……”Dy…..Nastys!”.

  5. commandercornpone says: Jan 17, 2012 7:00 PM

    fix the OL. then the O will be “fixed”. they will need that cause they will have to score more points for the foreseeable future. then promote younguns and draft defense.

  6. rodgers419 says: Jan 17, 2012 7:16 PM

    The OL makes the QB look bad and the QB makes the OL look bad. Half the sacks are on Ben for holding the ball for 26 seconds.

  7. joshseks says: Jan 17, 2012 7:28 PM

    PLEASE cut James Harrison he rushed the passer every play this year and struggled. It is time to cut him!! Also a very dirty player.

  8. johntonioholmes says: Jan 17, 2012 7:37 PM

    knowerofallthings

    Why? Because they finished second in the division by virtue injuries?

    Something tells me that if the Ravens lost Ngata, they would only be an 8 win team. Imagine if they lost Ngata, Suggs, Yanda, and Oher like the Steelers lost Woodley, Keisel, Hampton, Starks and Pouncey.

    And then if their most important offensive player–Ray Rice–was playing hobbled like the Steelers most important offensive player–Roethlisberger–was.

  9. sdiegosteel says: Jan 17, 2012 7:39 PM

    I don’t know if Jonathan Scott will be let go. Max Starks hurt his knee in Denver and Willie Colon has been on the IR for the past two seasons minus one game.

    Getting rid of Arnez Battle and Will Allen frees up another $2.5 or so million dollars as well. There are more than enough players to move on from here.

  10. afreak2u says: Jan 17, 2012 7:54 PM

    Yea right the steelers will keep Harrison and for the fool that believes they will finish behind the bungles and ravens dream on, ravens maybe there a very tough team hard nosed defensive team and when there offense is clicking look out much like the steelers those two team are always gonna be the measuring stick for that division the bungles will improve but not enough to over throw either the ravens or steelers

  11. 6ball says: Jan 17, 2012 7:56 PM

    .

    Kevin Colbert is going to have to start pulling rabbits out of his hat. I’d estimate that the Steelers are going to need about 15 new starters over the next three years.

    .

  12. forthelove says: Jan 17, 2012 7:56 PM

    You missed one.

    Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback: He’s a rapist.

  13. whatsafairway says: Jan 17, 2012 8:06 PM

    Steelers don’t have to tear everything apart.

    It’s falling apart all by itself!

  14. steelernation1 says: Jan 17, 2012 8:07 PM

    hmm i remember people posting comments in the tom brady thread saying steeler fans shouldnt be posting here..i am guessing anyone who isnt a steeler fan or doesnt have anything human to say should exit the page

    Steelers need a lot of work..the rooneys are good at what they do/.thats why the steelers are contenders every year..i have faith

  15. steelcurtainn says: Jan 17, 2012 8:50 PM

    The steelers will competing for the division every year as long as Big Ben is there and healthy. Id take Big Ben over Dalton and Floppo anyday.
    As for the moves…
    Hines Ward, Hampton, and Farrior bring back 1 more year with paycuts. Hines Ward already said he’d take one. Clark and Keisel stay. Cut-Kemo, Scott, McFadden and Foote. Sign and Draft a crap load of Offensive Lineman who can get the job done and not give up 3 sacks on the final drive of a AFC Playoff game. Tomlin/Colbert something you should of did last year instead of Big Ben running for his life all season. The Steelers may then have another crack a superbowl win next season.

  16. Robert Chandler says: Jan 17, 2012 8:51 PM

    If I were in charge I would (gasp) try to peddle Mike Wallace for some additional Draft Picks. I feel the Steelers can compete well enough with Sanders and Antonio Brown, and Wallace could provide a nice deal in exchange. He is a great WR, but runs mostly deep patterns, and those guys are not impossible to replace. Just a thought. Otherwise, I would encourage older guys like Hines to retire. The team is so well managed, I would never worry. They will retool, get younger, and probably be in the playoffs again regardless of a period of transition.

    I am concerned with their running game more than the defense. It will be interesting to follow how Mendenhall recovers, and maybe the Steelers draft a young speedy RB this year?

  17. bensstinkyfingers says: Jan 17, 2012 8:52 PM

    The Stealers will dwell at the bottom of the AFC north for the next 5-10 years or until they blow it up and get rid of the boneheads like Harrison, Roethlisberger, etc that run the Rooney name through the mud at least once a year. We’ll see if they choose having a team of indigents that can make the playoffs via wildcard then get eliminated in the first round or rebuild with some high character, intelligent guys for the future.

  18. codysteeler says: Jan 17, 2012 8:54 PM

    Get younger on the DLINE except for kiesel.

    Anyone who thinks harrison should get cut needs to be shot right now! Harrison is the pass rush, without him QB’s will tear up our secondary- its happened so many times this year when harrison was not on the field!

    Watch steeler football before you comment and say stupid things- especially people who arent even steeler fans!

  19. ravenator says: Jan 17, 2012 8:58 PM

    …Tebow’d

  20. lilrob10201 says: Jan 17, 2012 9:03 PM

    Looking @ their roster their older then I thought.

  21. mikeeg says: Jan 17, 2012 9:15 PM

    They got Tebow’d… reason alone to gut them….

  22. toegoat says: Jan 17, 2012 9:17 PM

    Dwell at the bottom of the afc north for 5-10 yrs????
    Bit of a stretch, don’t ya think?

  23. dirtdawg55 says: Jan 17, 2012 9:20 PM

    The Steelers have to cut $25 million from the payroll to get under the likely cap, never mind freeing up cash to get Wallace signed to a long term deal. Add it up folks, a lot of names will be gone. Hampton, Smith, Hoke, Farrior, Foote, McFadden, Batch, Ward (he is the fifth best receiver on the team and can’t play special teams – let’s be real about this, he ain’t coming back) – can’t imagine any of them back.

    Other potential candidates – Scott, Mendenhall, Colon. Moore, Leftwich.

    It’s going to be an interesting off season. But m I worried about their ability to compete in the AFC North? Ah, no. People wrote them off at the start of this year, even before the shellacking by the Ravens. They struggled with tons of injuries. And they still went 12 and 4. Over the last fifteen years I have hear nothing about how this was the beginning of the end for them and all that has happened has been a ton of playoff appearances, plenty of playoff wins, four SB appearances and two wins. Not a lot of franchises can say that. Easily one of the top two or three franchises during that entire time.

    Every other fan chirping on this page doesn’t have a whole lot to brag about (Pats fans, I can understand your pride – but getting the gears from Bengals fans? Seriously? Wake me up and when your team has put together any kind of string of success and we will talk. Until then, all I hear is some kind of high pitch whining noise – not unlike that a mosquito makes)

  24. dlmcc1010 says: Jan 17, 2012 9:37 PM

    The Steelers draft well and have an excellent coaching staff in place. They need help on the offensive line. then again what team doesnt? Im sure they will be fine next year once they trim some of the shaky contracts. None of those guys listed are irreplaceable pieces

  25. myersm531 says: Jan 17, 2012 9:53 PM

    The steelers dont rebuild we already have position players in line to take wards, hamptons and farriors spot. A lot of immature people post on here, steelers have 6 titles who else has that???? jealousy will get you nowhere

  26. benandjerrysberryhorny says: Jan 17, 2012 9:57 PM

    I thuroughly enjoy reading these sad, pathetic Steeler fan comments.

  27. sasattack says: Jan 17, 2012 10:07 PM

    Greg, if anything they’ll cut Farrior and keep Foote. Foote is a few years younger and plays specials. Farrior played pretty well this year though.

  28. roamingabriel says: Jan 17, 2012 11:17 PM

    I’m thinking Mike Wallace would look good with some Rams horns on his helmet…

  29. farvefromover says: Jan 18, 2012 12:03 AM

    hey myersm531, titles from 20-30 years ago don’t translate to today, unless terry bradshaw is taking roethlisrapers spot. Big Bens translate, but don’t use the played out steel curtains old titles. if you think that is ok, then it opens the door for Redskins fans to speak up. they haven’t done bodily for a while. so clam up

  30. farvefromover says: Jan 18, 2012 12:05 AM

    my bad its bo diddly

  31. bullcharger says: Jan 18, 2012 12:18 AM

    The Steelers can retool and stay competitive at the same time. Plus Ben is 29, so even if they struggle next year, they have more time.

  32. vincentbojackson says: Jan 18, 2012 12:26 AM

    What in the Steelers history would suggest they would tear down and start over? They’ll do what they always do. Draft a couple key pieces and fill remaining holes with bargain free agent role players.

    Of the names mentioned, only Clark and Kiesel are priority signings at this point. Bringing back Hampton and Farrior would be nice, but would only make sense if the price were right.

  33. bensstinkyfingers says: Jan 18, 2012 1:13 AM

    Gregg, I’m sure you’re reading all of our comments. So thanks for giving all the brilliant Steeler fans a forum to whine and make excuses, such as injurys (which all teams have) as to why their team is on the decline and got Tebowed this year. Very entertaining anytime there is a Steeler related article, they all crawl out from under their rocks to lend their very qualified advice. I’m sure the Rooney’s use all of your suggestions in consideration before making decisions on the future of the team.

  34. gnutella0 says: Jan 18, 2012 1:27 AM

    Let’s take a look at the performance of the Steelers over the last four seasons:

    2008: 12-4
    2009: 9-7
    2010: 12-4
    2011: 12-4

    If that’s the mark of a team in decline, then I can’t wait to see the Steelers make a comeback. They’d be 14-2 at worst if they did.

    Now, as for the salary cap, the good news is, most of the large contracts are with aging veterans who have already been getting phased out of the team’s future plans, so parting ways with them won’t be nearly as difficult as outsiders want it to be. Their contributions in the last eight years have been much appreciated, but in the business of the NFL, it’s time to move on.

    On offense, I believe that Chris Kemoeatu and Jonathan Scott will be cut, and Hines Ward will be cut and re-signed for the veteran minimum. I can wish for David Johnson to be cut, but it likely won’t happen. On defense, I believe that Chris Hoke will retire, and Aaron Smith, James Farrior, Larry Foote and Bryant McFadden will be cut. Ryan Clark will stay, and Casey Hampton will stay if he renegotiates. Will Allen and Arnaz Battle are two special teamers who can be cut as well.

    As for the draft, here is the draft priority for the Steelers:

    1. LG
    2. RG
    3. LILB
    4. PK
    5. SS (depth)

    LT is a potential wild card. If Max Starks rehabs well and stays in shape this off-season, then he can be extended for another year or two. If he doesn’t, though, then LT immediately becomes the top priority in the draft.

  35. cannonballdookie says: Jan 18, 2012 1:30 AM

    They don’t need a lot of work to get better. It will actually be refreshing seeing them cut the majority of these guys and have some extra payroll to worth with. Sad to see them go but it’s part of the game. Most of them are getting too old and the backups are playing just as well.

    Farrior, Clark, and Harrison should stay around but everyone else can go. Even Mendenhall is a possible cut.

  36. pravin68 says: Jan 18, 2012 2:27 AM

    Farrior is done. He has made one play in pass coverage all year, yet LeBeau keeps using him in such situations on 3rd down. Colbert, for the love of Tebow’s father, get rid of Farrior so the coaches dont keep using him.

    I actually think Colon is not worth the 6M. They need a premium guard. If Starks is healthy, he is preferable even if the coaches dont like him.

    Cutting Kemo is a no brainer.

    Get Hampton only if he takes a paycut.

    Get rid of Battle.
    Get rid of Allen(the veteran special teamer, not Cortez).
    Bring back Hoke as a backup. You can give him games played incentives.

    I would renegotiate Timmon’s outrageous contract.

  37. tatum064 says: Jan 18, 2012 4:00 AM

    toegoat says:
    Jan 17, 2012 9:17 PM
    Dwell at the bottom of the afc north for 5-10 yrs????
    Bit of a stretch, don’t ya think?
    ============================
    No, not really.

    Sincerely,

    Bengal fan

  38. tatum064 says: Jan 18, 2012 4:04 AM

    unfkwthabl says:
    Jan 17, 2012 6:55 PM

    Now this article says that most of them are not worth what they are being paid…. so who is right

    =================

    After the Falcons beat down from the Chiefs, and the Bronco debacle, none of them are right. They need to play better, if that means clean house, do it. In the Falcons case, they better hurry, Newton is the real deal in Carolina.

  39. slickmarine says: Jan 18, 2012 4:06 AM

    Tebow made Harrison look like a fool.

    ‘Nuff said.

  40. slickmarine says: Jan 18, 2012 4:18 AM

    @myersm531 says:Jan 17, 2012 9:53 PM

    The steelers dont rebuild we already have position players in line to take wards, hamptons and farriors spot. A lot of immature people post on here, steelers have 6 titles who else has that???? jealousy will get you nowhere
    ____

    Immature? I’m 55; you missed by a mile.

    Jealous? Not of your success; it is hard-earned by the Rooneys. Certainly not jealous of the social misfits you call ‘a team’.

    Rebuilding with position players? As many have noted, you’re $25 million OVER THE CAP. You have to get rid of those players just to get EVEN. You won’t be able to replace those names with equal talent; you don’t have any money. You will fill the holes with your backups. Not exactly a formula for World Domination..

    ..unless you’re Pinky and the Brain.

    Or was that immature of me?

  41. thebrownswillalwaysloose says: Jan 18, 2012 5:06 AM

    @johntonioholmes
    Imagine if nobody had an imagination to imagine things?
    Imagine if the Steelers players of the seventies didn’t have their special juice? Wonder how many titles they would have then? Imagine that?

  42. youreinsteelercountry says: Jan 18, 2012 6:55 AM

    aaron smith should have retired 2 years ago and i woiuldn’t trust kemo to wash my car without being penalized

    http://www.youreinsteelercountry.com

  43. sudz28 says: Jan 18, 2012 7:38 AM

    For all the press the Defense has been getting, they still finished in the top 3 in the LEAGUE. My biggest concern has been the same for the past 4 years; a horrible O-line and an anemic rushing attack. FIX THE OFFENSIVE LINE and most the problems this team have are solved… Ben stops having to run for his life and constantly getting sacked, and the run game will open up with even a mediocre running back. The defense is still fine, although will certainly need some changes over the coming few years.

  44. lichnor says: Jan 18, 2012 8:00 AM

    They really need to get rid of Arians.

    All those weapons and they rarely see north of 20 points per game?

    Inexcusable.

  45. toegoat says: Jan 18, 2012 8:04 AM

    tatum064 January 18, 2012, 4:00 AM EST

    toegoat says: Jan 17, 2012 9:17 PM Dwell at the bottom of the afc north for 5-10 yrs???? Bit of a stretch, don’t ya think? ============================ No, not really.
    —————-
    Mike Brown, enough said.

    Sincerely,

    Bengal fan
    ———————————

  46. polo550 says: Jan 18, 2012 8:52 AM

    johntonioholmes:

    Something tells me that if the Ravens lost Ngata, they would only be an 8 win team. Imagine if they lost Ngata, Suggs, Yanda, and Oher like the Steelers lost Woodley, Keisel, Hampton, Starks and Pouncey.

    And then if their most important offensive player–Ray Rice–was playing hobbled like the Steelers most important offensive player–Roethlisberger–was.
    ————————————-

    Sounds like a bunch of excuses to me. Besides they had all of those players when the Ravens beat the brakes off of them in Week 1 and the only one of those guys that was missing when the Ravens beat them in Pittsburgh was Woodley. They got beat period! Stop making excuses. There has been plenty of times over the years that the Ravens haven’t been healthy going into a Steelers matchup. You play with what you have. The bottom line is if they had decent depth they wouldn’t have lost to Tebow in the playoffs.

  47. rmm1984 says: Jan 18, 2012 8:52 AM

    I have a feeling a lot of big names may be cut but nobody that is significant to the team anymore. As long as Ben is on the roster they will compete every year.

  48. toegoat says: Jan 18, 2012 8:53 AM

    tatum064 January 18, 2012, 4:00 AM EST

    toegoat says: Jan 17, 2012 9:17 PM Dwell at the bottom of the afc north for 5-10 yrs???? Bit of a stretch, don’t ya think? ============================ No, not really.

    Sincerely,

    Bengal fan
    —————————————–
    Mike Brown, enough said.

  49. steelerfanjo says: Jan 18, 2012 9:06 AM

    I love the Steelers and Rooney. But the only thing that needs cut from the Steelers is Bruce Arians. Arians is so bad. Blind people can read his play calling.

  50. nejerseygirl says: Jan 18, 2012 9:17 AM

    polo550 says:

    Sounds like a bunch of excuses to me. Besides they had all of those players when the Ravens beat the brakes off of them in Week 1 and the only one of those guys that was missing when the Ravens beat them in Pittsburgh was Woodley. They got beat period! Stop making excuses. There has been plenty of times over the years that the Ravens haven’t been healthy going into a Steelers matchup. You play with what you have. The bottom line is if they had decent depth they wouldn’t have lost to Tebow in the playoffs.
    _______________

    Thank you!

    Steelers fans sound like Rex Ryan when their team is still in the running… speaking horribly about other teams, saying that Pittsburgh is definitely headed to the big game..

    And then the team loses. And the excuses start flying. Injuries? Please. You should be prepared for that. We’ve seen banged up teams win Superbowls, so stop whining and deal with the fact that your team just wasn’t good enough this year.

  51. bunkmcnulty says: Jan 18, 2012 9:28 AM

    As your AFCN advesary, no mention of the decline in play for 43. I must be missing something, but the Defense was not the same without 92 and 43 dominating.

    Your priority is OL, DL, DBs and RB.

    Whoever said that a draft priority was a PK is a comedian. Who drafts PK’s? I thought Al Davis passed?

    Your D coordinator also needs to learn to make adjustments. With the decline in play of 92 and 43 you will not always be able to impose your will on the better teams.

  52. olcap says: Jan 18, 2012 9:44 AM

    The problem with the Steelers is Tomlin He cannot motivate the players to play at the level they are capable of. Look at how their quarterback has gotten pounded, year after year, because of their sucky offensive line. That will take its toll, which will result in a much shorter career for the QB than he would have had with some semblance of protection.

    It looks like the game has passed LeBeau by also. Their defense looked sluggish and lazy in the last game they played. So, I would say that there’s a huge need for some motivators on their coaching staff.

  53. bunkmcnulty says: Jan 18, 2012 10:34 AM

    @olcap

    As a Ravens fan, I’d take Tomlin in a minute and I like Harbaugh. The Steelers, who were 12-4, problems are not with Tomlin.

  54. johntonioholmes says: Jan 18, 2012 12:35 PM

    polo550

    Actually, they didn’t have all of their players. Colon went down in the first game and Pouncey left early, because he was injured in the last pre-season game.

    Harrison was still recovering from back surgery.

    Then, in the second meeting, the Ravens were handed 3 gifts from the officials, and the Steelers only had 3 healthy receivers.

    I’m not making excuses; like Tomlin says, the standard is the standard.

    But I hardly thinks it’s realistic to assume that the team is done, when they went 12-4 with all of those injuries.

    I watch Baltimore’s line-play a lot and Ngata is the main reason why that defense is effective.

    If just he went down, the Ravens would have been fighting Cincy for the 3rd seed because their offense sure doesn’t win them any games.

    Imagine if the Ravens lost as many people as the Steelers. I wouldn’t be like knowerofallthings claiming that the Ravens are “done” because I’m smart enough to understand how injuries affect their game-plan.

    You could say I’m making excuses all you want; Ravens fans made excuses when Cincy hung 480 yards on them without A.J. Green because Ray Lewis also wasn’t playing.

  55. tsutton84 says: Jan 22, 2012 10:57 AM

    To all those predicting the Steelers’ demise:

    This team has been to 3 of the last 6 SuperBowls, and is the winningest team since the 1970 merger. This is not (strictly) the players, or even the head coach… it’s a system, a philosophy, and a front office that understands what it takes to field a NFL contender.

    These kinds of teams don’t rebuild, they reload. Don’t count the Steelers out in 2012. They’ve had ONE losing season since 2000, and only 5 losing records in the last 25 years.

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