Steelers unrestricted free agents should all hit open market

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The Steelers have a challenging salary cap situation facing them this offseason. That will force them to make difficult decisions and hold off from spending before fre agency starts.

G.M. Kevin Colbert made it clear that he doesn’t expect to re-sign any of the team’s 11 unrestricted free agents before free agency starts in mid-March. Colbert knew this cap crunch was on the horizon.

“We’ve seen this coming for a while and we knew we would have to make some serious adjustments after this past season, because the previous season we didn’t have a salary cap and really we took some liberties that year that we would not have been able to in a capped year. Some of that carried over into this year,” Colbert said via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

That sounds pretty bad until you look at Pittsburgh’s list of free agents. The Steeler already re-signed the guys they really wanted to keep with long-term deals. Key free agents include cornerback William Gay, tackle Max Starks, wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, and quarterback Byron Leftwich.

Those are players the Steelers can afford to lose or allow to test the open market.  In the meantime, Colbert admits the team still has a lot of “work to do” to get under the cap.

(Especially if they want to use the franchise tag on restricted free agent Mike Wallace.)

23 responses to “Steelers unrestricted free agents should all hit open market

  1. Keep hitting on players in the draft and this “cap problem” will get sorted out.

    Good teams have good (and expensive) players. The key is to re-stock young inexpensive players every year who outperform their salaries, so you can balance out your roster with Good and Great players.

  2. Not a major issue. Colbert’s a strong GM and as usual the Steelers will replace talent through the draft. Love em or hate em but its what they do.

  3. Of those named, I think Max Starks is the most valuable. Did anyone else notice how much more protection Ben got after Max Starks was inserted back in the line?

  4. jsalis13 says:
    Feb 14, 2012 1:38 PM
    Wow, it really is amazing how little any of those players matter


    Except every Yinzer in the world has been saying that the decline/loss of Ward is just fine because they have Cotchery. He’ll take a bit too much money to go somewhere like Jacksonville, and PIT will be left with two skinny fast guys and nobody that can make a physical catch. Good luck with that.

  5. I hope the free agency and salary cap issues rip apart the Stealers

    Of cource you do. You are so jealous of our success. Sorry. Not gonna happen!

  6. This corroborates what Jerry McDonald
    (Oakland Trib) was hitting on the other day – the bane of the salary cap is a myth.
    Teams have no trouble keeping their productive players under the cap and will pay. Its the fringe players and players they are willing to let go that are cap “hits”.

  7. goawayeverybody says:

    I hope the free agency and salary cap issues rip apart the Stealers.


    Haha so do a lot of people, but guess what? Its not gonna happen, buddy.

    The key players are already locked up long-term. Ben, Troy, Woodley, Timmons, Harrison and Ike will be around for a while. Now they’re flipping 6th round draft pick WRs into Pro Bowlers in just 2 years.

    I guess what your saying is you hope free agency and salary cap issues force them to cut guys like Byron Leftwich, Max Starks, Will Allen and Larry Foote? Won’t hurt. The most you’re getting is Mike Wallace or Antonio Brown after NEXT year. Keep dreaming…

  8. lets make a story where there isn’t one
    Leftwich hasn’t played n 2 yrs injuries
    Gay-inconsistent DB they drafted 2 DBs last yr
    Starks weight problems-ACL-etc
    Crotchery 4th WR @ best on this team
    wait til they Cut/Release Farrior/Foote/Hampton/A.Smith/Kemo/& probably Ward

  9. People keep throwing dirt on the Steelers yet they keep hitting big in the draft year in year out. Omar Kahn freed up 15 million in salaries last week alone. The guy’s the best cap guru in the business.

    If i’m not mistaken, Gay and Starks are the only guys listed that started any games last season.

  10. The Steelers let Rod Woodson, Greg Lloyd, Kevin Greene, Chad Brown, Carnell Lake, Yancey Thigpen, Plaxico Burress, and countless other prominent players leave as free agents and continued to do well. None of the players listed in this article are even in the same class so I doubt the front office and coaching staff are losing any sleep over it

  11. And when it is all sorted out…..the salary cap and the free agency and the crying over the new OC by Ben and Mendenhall’s ACL and Troy’s concussions and Harrison’s suspentions…….the Steelers will be playing somebody in the playoffs.

  12. Well, Starks hurt his knee in the Denver playoff game. Leftwich finished the season on IR.

    William Gay is expendable. The Steelers have three young corners, Keenan Lewis, Curtis Brown, and Cortez Allen, that will all be capable starters next season. So even though Will Gay had a bounce-back year in 2011, they don’t need to hold onto him.

    Jerricho Cotchery would be a nice weapon, but can probably get more money somewhere else.

  13. I understand why a lot of people would want to see the run of success the Steelers have had come to an end. The reality is all of this salary cap nonsense is ridiculous. Will the Steelers have to move on from a few “big” names of the past, absolutely. But to think Kevin Colbert, who’s draft picking & decision making is 2nd to none in the NFL , can’t move the Steelers through this transition period is a big mistake. The Mike Wallace topic is plain silly. He’s a restricted free agent, so as long as they give him a high tender, they’ll be able to work through a deal. If someone wants to give a #1 & more for Wallace, all the better.

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