With the NFL’s free agency period in full swing, the Pittsburgh Steelers made some news of a different sort with the surprising release of RG Kendall Simmons a short 18 months after signing him to a big contract extension. Rumors were that Simmons, who missed most of this season with a torn ACL, was coming along very slowly in his rehab. This isn’t shocking as an ACL tear is about the most serious injury a football player can have. It usually takes a full year for the elite athletic players to come back and another year before they even begin to approach their old level. For a guy like Simmons who’s hardly a decathlete and has to lug around 300+ pounds on that bum knee, the rehab curve is probably even steeper.
This is most definitely not a salary cap move as most last second player releases are this time of year. By releasing Simmons, the Steelers actually lose MORE cap room than had they kept him since the guaranteed bonus portion of contract automatically kicks in, moving his cap hit up to $4.7 million. This leaves Pittsburgh about $7 million under the cap after tendering offers to some restricted free agents.
CB Anthony Madison, FB Sean McHugh, and (hold the gitney) RT Willie Colon were all offered contracts for next season. Not on the list was S Anthony Smith, who now rides off in to the sunset with a place in Steeler infamy firmly secure. Ex-coach Bill Cowher tabbed Smith as a future star in the league but his inability to shut his damn fool mouth cost him repeatedly. First was the embarrassment against New England, then the final straw was this year when he whined about not playing when starter Ryan Clark was injured.
One person who won’t be joining the Steelers next year is Indianapolis center Jeff Saturday, who decided to re-up with the Colts at the 11th hour (thanks for the link Alison). Too bad, as his weasel agent said he’s a Rooney type player what with his lying about wanting to come here and money grubbing ways. Oh wait, that would make him exactly the type of guy the Rooneys despise. Sorry, my bad.
Well, one thing is for sure, with the loss of Simmons the Steelers are almost forced into making a move in free agency. We have only one starting guard on the roster and he’s a mediocre guard at that. Expecting a rookie starter in the 1st round is a big gamble when you’re picking last. We’ll definitely need to take a look at what’s out there and bring somebody in to shore up that line.
Tags: 2008 Nfl Champions 2009 Nfl Champions 2009 Nfl Draft 2009 Nfl Free Agents Anthony Madison Anthony Smith Bill Cowher Jeff Saturday Kemoeatu Kendall Simmons Nfl Draft Nfl Free Agency Nfl Free Agents Nfl Salary Cap Pittsburgh Steelers Ralph Cindrinch Steeler Nation Willie Colon