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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