The Steelers have some moves to make in the next day or so. As it turns out, as a drafted rookie, if you haven’t been signed by the Steelers by Thursday, you’re no longer permitted to show up to camp. Many players including James Harrison and Rashard Mendenhall, as well as all 7 draft picks, arrived early yesterday morning to the team’s South Side facility. All of the players, especially the second year Wide Outs and friends Manny Sanders and Antonio Brown, are excited to be back in the facility and working out and running routs, they told reporters yesterday.
The Steelers have lots of work to do in Free Agency before the weekend hits, as do all of the other NFL teams. In my previous article on Free Agency and who was left to make deals with, I mentioned each player and the likelihood that they would be back. Well, I was (thankfully) wrong about Ike Taylor, who reportedly agreed to a 4 year deal late yesterday. The curious thing of it all is that they can agree to a deal, but they can’t actually sign papers until later. This whole lockout thing has the time table all messed up, but it seems the Steelers are methodically getting things done, which is to be expected from such a great front office.
In other news, one of the bigger Free Agency signings (depending on how you feel about him) is that Matt Hasselbeck, formally of the Seattle Seahawks (10 seasons), has signed a deal with the Titans effectively relieving Vince Young of his QB duties in Tennessee. I assume Hasselbeck will be there just long enough for Locker to develop and then he’ll be cast aside like Kurt Warner was (prematurely) for a younger QB. For those of you wondering about the great Kerry Collins…he retired. This means that a team like the Vikings could theoretically go after VY, which would help them grab some stability in a position that has been up in the air for, like, the last decade. I of course use the word “stability” loosely when referring to Vince Young. And just as I typed this I saw an article that says the Vikes are in the beginning stages of talking with Mcnabb. So maybe I’m full of it. Unless of course Brett Favre un-retires again. There’s always that.
Basically there is a lot left to go and we will likely see a ridiculous amount of deals happening between players and teams in the next few hours. Something I found particularly interesting was an interview I found on ESPN with an agent that represents over 100 players in the NFL. He spun this whole thing as actually being good for the Free Agents. We keep hearing that this shorter period is going to hurt the players, but this rep insisted that because of the shorter term of Free Agency, the teams had to come out with their best offers first instead of dicking around and making players sweat and things of that nature. In a nutshell, he says it will be better for the Free Agents, and they may actually get the deals they want with the teams they want quicker than they would have otherwise. There’s still the problem of these players only having a couple of days to dicker with other teams and find the best deal, but the teams that need to make big Free Agent signings (ie Vikings, Titans etc) are already getting out there and grabbing the players they need.
I am sure there will be many more deals made in the next few hours. Since the Steelers are already $10 million over the $120 million cap, expect their next move to be some cuts. You may have to say goodbye to some likable players like ARE and others.
Also, just as I hit “publish” on this article, Santonio Holmes has inked a $50 million deal over 5 years with the Jets. So he’s off the market.