Just as it was advertised, the start to the NFL offseason has been a whirlwind of trades, rumors, and “no they didn’ts.”
The Steelers have begun to fill some of the holes the team had going into the season, but there is plenty of work still to be done as the black and gold head into training camp today.
Best moves this offseason….so far
Let’s start right here at home. Resigning Ike Taylor was a necessary move for the Steelers. I say necessary because although we are giving Ike a boatload of money, in reality the Steelers needed to keep Ike on the roster. While the team’s secondary still will not be considered the best in the league, and I’m sure opposing quarterbacks are not shaking in their boots, life without Ike would have been troubling. It’s time to put those scaring images of Ike missing Aaron Rogers late 3rd and 10 pass in the Super Bowl to rest, and be happy that the swag patrol is back at corner for the Steelers.
Another key move was the Carolina Panthers ability to resign running back DeAngelo Williams. Although he was hurt last season, Williams has been a star in the Carolina backfield. The thunder and lighting duo of Williams and Jonathan Stewart has been a great foundation for the Panthers, and will be for years to come. Another reason this signing has such great value, is it will ease the learning curve for the No. 1 overall draft pick in Cam Newton. Without the opportunity to learn the playbook right away, Newton will be at a disadvantage heading into the season. Nothing like a great backfield to help ease a quarterback into a sticky situation.
Personally, I thought the Titans made out like bandits picking up veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck is coming off a season in which he lead his team to the playoffs, and a stunning upset of the defending Super Bowl champion Saints. Hasselbeck is the consummate professional, arriving to the practice facility first, and leaving last. He will serve as a great mentor to rookie quarterback Jake Locker, and will allow the transition the Titans are under to go as smoothly as possible.
Trade Rumors that could have the greatest impact
Could this be the year the New York Jets finally reach the Super Bowl and validate Rex Ryan’s guarantees as more than just hot air? Well, if the team is able to sign free agent corner back Nnamdi Asomugha the chances of the Jets playing in the big game become greatly increased. Asomugha is the definition of a shut down corner back. While he does not have an enormous amount of interceptions over the last few seasons, Asomugha has shockingly allowed less than 50 completions on his side of the field over the last 3 years. With the possibility of Asomugha and Revis suiting up for the Jets, those are two islands no team is going to want to visit.
Another trade rumor that could have a big impact this season is Kevin Kolb going to the Arizona Cardinals. It has been rumored for quite some time that the Eagles will trade Kolb to the Cardinals for corner back Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and a draft pick. The Cardinals already have many pieces in place to be a good team, and playing in the NFC West is an advantage as well. One of the only things holding the Cardinals back was the lack of a quarterback. While I personally still think the verdict is still out of Kolb as being a solid NFL starting quarterback, he will be a huge addition for the Cardinals.
Moves that cause for a double take
Before this morning, I thought the Vikings acquiring Donavan McNabb was the biggest head scratcher, but then I saw the Patriots had made a deal to add embattled defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth to the roster. Last season, I believed Haynesworth’s antics of not playing for the majority of the season after signing a $100 million contract was one of the worst displays of self worth I had ever seen. If there is any team or coach that can teach Haynesworth the value of working hard, it would be Belichick and the Patriots, but I surely don’t see Haynesworth’s apathetic attitude fitting in with the no nonsense style of Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Another move that has left me surprised is the Steelers plans to cut left tackle Max Starks. I know there are many people out there in Steelers nation who are not surprised one bit by this move, and I can understand that. Starks was set to make just over $5 million this year, which is a lofty amount of money to pay someone who is a frequent of the IR. My only concern is who is going to play left tackle for the Steelers this season. With the way Ben Roethlisberger plays the game, left tackle has become one of the most important positions on the team, and I thought Starks did an admirable job at the position. I don’t think Tomlin is going to throw rookie Marcus Gilbert into the fire at left tackle from the onset of the season, and even if the team resigns Flozell Adams, I think he is too slow and old to play left tackle in the NFL. Deciding who will step up to play the position Big Ben relies on the most will be an interesting training camp story line to follow.
There are sure to be many more moves as the offseason continues to progress. NPC will have all the updates and analysis as the Steelers enter training camp, and begin the quest to get back to the Super Bowl.