Pittsburgh Steelers 2011 Free Agency Grades: Part 1

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Face Me Ike is back. But can he justify the money?

Free agency is beginning to cool off a bit, so it’s time to start grading what the Steelers have done (or not) so far.  In Part 1, I’ll break things down a bit for each player, give a grade, then give a final overall grade.  Keep in mind that even as I write this, things are still in flux and can change.  I’ll try and update as much as possible.  Let’s do this.

 

Inked

Ike Taylor - I said it wouldn’t happen and that it shouldn’t, but it did.  The Steelers within a couple days of the start of post-lockout free agency inked Taylor to a new four year deal.  The financial terms have yet to be disclosed, which is a little disturbing.  I really hope the Steelers didn’t put too many eggs in one basket on this one.  Taylor is indeed their best corner, but I feel that the Steelers could have shopped around a bit and saved money.  The Steelers drafted a couple of CB’s in the draft, and there were CB free agents available with some pretty decent value.  But with free agency being a huge free-for-all in just a matter of days, players realized they had a golden opportunity to get the big bucks without having a long time for vetting by other teams.  The Steelers more than likely realized that too, and snatched up Taylor and gave him the respect by offering enough and early.

Grade: B-

Willie Colon - You can tell a guy loves his team when he turns down $3 million dollars extra from another in order to stay where he is at.  Colon signed a 5 year $29 million contract with the Steelers late last week.  Colon is a key member of the offensive line.  He injured his achilles and was out for the season in 2010.  However, he played in all 16 games in the 2007-2009 seasons.  Colon is 28 and continues to show improvement with each season.  I think this was a very good investment for the Steelers – especially since they let other linemen go once the lockout was over.  The $29 million price tag is a little much ($6 mil/year), but it ensures youth and speed (and probably the most skilled) on the aging offensive line.

Grade: B+

Jonathan Scott - Scott performed well (although shaky at times) while filling in for Max Starks last season after Starks went out with a neck injury.  He didn’t start games consistently until the middle of the season, and that’s a though thing to do.  Let’s not forget that he is a tackle and that is a hard position to just come off the bench in when you have fast OLB’s coming at you.  Scott signed a two year deal.  His signing allows the Steelers to have some younger and faster talent on the line.  Scott WILL get better (dear God he better) and he must as he will more than likely be the starter after the release of Starks prior to his own signing.

Grade: B+

Gay looking at his best. Courtesy of steelerstoday.com

William Gay - Your favorite nickel back and mine, William Gay, is back for one more season with the Steelers.  I honestly don’t know after being able to sign Taylor and draft two solid rookies at corner why you would need to sign Gay.  Where is his worth in this investment?  How many more times must he get beaten on a slant before someone cries ‘uncle?’  Maybe the Steelers thought he would be good for the rookies to learn from (as in what NOT to do) as they will more than likely play in nickel and dime defenses to start the season.

Grade: D

More after the jump…

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  • JonHopkins

    who is the idiot that keeps gay around?? get rid of both their asses

  • JoshuaBurns

    I’m glad to see the Ike was resigned since he was one of the only people I didn’t see getting burned. McFadden was on of the CB’s that was killing us last year in the secondary. If I didn’t already have his number memorized I could have last season watching him turn around and realize that the guy he was covering was 10 yards ahead of him.

    I’m still confused as to why we kept Gay. He did come up with a few key plays last season, much to my surprise, but not enough to justify shopping for a quality nickel defender. Dixon is the other one that I’m scratching my head about. He is just kind of there and that’s it. I was hoping that he could step up during the Ben drought, but he clearly showed that he just doesn’t have the swagger to handle himself out of the pocket. Good thing we still have Charlie and with Byron as a “viable” back up it just seems like too much.

    I don’t know why everyone is all hyped up over Plaxico and Tikki. Have seen our WR’s? You are talking about Mike Wallace who says he’s going to hit 2000 yards (he probably doesn’t realize that we still have Bruce as the Offensive Coordinator, but good luck). Antonio Brown and Emmanual Sanders who are developing wonderfully and of course “twinkle toes” Ward who will block and catch up the middle. He’s probably on his last season, but he plays hard all game, every game. I have no qualms with Moore. He didn’t get that many touches, but he maximized every opportunity and he has proven that he can crush up the middle when Rashard get’s skiddish.

  • craig.gottschalk

    @JoshuaBurns

    The jury is still out for me on Ike. I can’t wait to see what kind of money they threw at him. Gay is totally a head scratcher. As like Dixon, it seems like a waste of time and money to even have these guys on the roster. Maybe they are thinking that Charlie or Byron won’t have anything going for them this season and will need Dixon – Dixon WAS the starter last season and managed the game well despite his experience.

    Yeah, I was never on the Tikki or Plax bus. Good riddance to both of them. Who knows how big Wallace’s numbers will be this season? They could be huge as Arians favors the pass over the run. I think you are a bit mistaken as to the kind of coordinator Arians is. He likes the pass, and the team passed the ball more than ran last season. Bottom line – Plax had no place in the offense.

    As for Moore – In my opinion, a third down back is supposed to be a better blocker than rusher or receiver. Those are utility skills as ‘outs’ for a QB who can’t connect with his 1st-3rd options. Moore is not a great blocker, and if Batch can keep performing the way he did on the first day of pads, then Moore is a waste of a sign.

  • JonHopkins

    @craig.gottschalk@JoshuaBurns we were watching the same games last year right?? things would have gone a lot better last year with better play calling. especially that loss to Ravens. that could have been avoided, even with back up QBs, if they had been throwing the ball. and look up the post season attempts. 91 passing, 97 rushing. actually, look at the regular season stats. 479 passing attempts, 471 rushing attempts. browns, Chiefs, Titans, Jaguars, and Bears were the only ones to have fewer pass attempts. play calling in the SB was better, the only problem is Roethlisberger threw 2 interceptions

    im not talkin a drastic change here, but the ball does need to be thrown more. you talk about about all these receivers we got, why wouldnt you use them more?? especially with a QB that can get the ball to them. i get that Brown and Sanders were both rookies last year but from what i remember, they have proven themselves to be real weapons if given the chance. unlike one receiver that is still on the team for some unknown reason. and while i would have loved to have Burress back, him and Ward were pretty much dead even stat wise, there really isnt a need for another receiver. should have been talkin with corners instead of him

    chances of getting him probably wouldnt have been very good but they could have reached out to Asomugha. hes taking less money overall with the Eagles than he was getting from the Raiders. and if they would have come to some kind of agreement, at least 4 of those DBs could easily be let go to free up some money. mainly Gay and Mcfadden. i was happy with Mcfadden a few years ago, but i think he forgot how to play after being in Arizona

    i will admit that when it comes to sorting out the money thing with the new cap, im clueless. so all that may have just been wishful thinking

    back to the Arians thing, i know for a fact that myself and many other will not be happy until that dude is gone. if he doesnt get his shit straight this year then something needs to be done