Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers Should Consider Signing Santonio Holmes

Santonio Holmes, former Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl MVP, is still on the free agent market after two injury plagued years with the Jets. According to Rotoworld, Holmes will not sign with a team until after the draft and there has not been a ton of interest in the 30-year-old.

In my opinion the Steelers should consider bringing him back to Pittsburgh. Obviously this is very unlikely due to many factors. Holmes will be looking for more money than the Steelers are willing or able to give him. Plus who knows what his relationship is with Steelers management.  I doubt Kevin Colbert and the Rooney’s would even want to take him back.

But let’s take a look at what the Steelers are working with right now at receiver.

Just three years ago the Steelers had arguably the best receiving core in the NFL.  In 2011, the Steelers had Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Hines Ward, Jerricho Cotchery, and Antonio Brown. All that remains is Antonio Brown.  The days of that receiving core are long gone.

Sure the Steelers have signed Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey.  Plus they have second year receiver Markus Wheaton, who only had six receptions in his rookie year.  Derek Moye is also an option at 6 foot 5, but he only had two catches last season.

I’m just not too impressed with the signing of Darrius Heyward-Bey.  I understand it’s only a one-year deal and he came cheap but why bother with him at all?  His career highs are 64 catches and 975 yards in 2011.  In his other four seasons he has come nowhere near those numbers, including last year with Andrew Luck throwing him the ball.  He only had 29 catches for a mere 309 yards.  All he is known for is being drafted too soon by Al Davis because he ran a fast 40 yard dash.

Lance Moore might be a very nice pickup for the Steelers but he’s a number three at this point in his career.  However, his presence on the roster might slow the progression of Wheaton. He did not see a ton of time in his rookie year, and now with veterans like Moore ahead of him, who knows how much he will grow.

The Steelers will probably look to the draft to help fix the position issues.  But as far as that goes, I don’t see Mike Evans making it to fifteen. Taking Kelvin Benjamin that early might be a bit too soon. I’m also not in love with Mel Kiper’s most recent mock draft in which he has the Steelers drafting Odell Beckham Jr., who is only 6 feet tall.  Eric Ebron from North Carolina would be a great addition, especially in the red zone, but is tight end the teams greatest need? He also might not even be on the board at 15.

Assuming the Steelers don’t draft a receiver in the first round and wait for the later rounds they could be in trouble for this upcoming season.  I know what most of you are thinking. “Well they drafted Antonio Brown in the sixth round and they drafted Emmanuel Sanders and Mike Wallace in the third round. All those guys made it.” That’s all true but that doesn’t mean every receiver they draft in the later rounds turns into a stud.

Last year they drafted Justin Brown in sixth round. He’s still on the roster but didn’t play last season. In 2012 they drafted Toney Clemons from Colorado in the seventh round. He’s on his fourth team at the moment.  Those guys were sixth and seventh round picks, so it’s hard to expect much from them. So how about Limas Sweed – 2008 second round pick and seven career catches.  That’s all from the supposedly big target from Texas.

Late round receivers are no guarantee, so why not take a shot on the devil you know, rather than a devil you don’t?  Why not take back Yo Holmes for one year?  It could be a bridge year if you look at it that way. He needs a chance to rejuvenate his career and the Steelers need a number two receiver for the time being.  In 2009 he had the best year of his career with 1,248 receiving yards.  He was then traded to the Jets during the offseason, thanks to a few run-ins with the law.  I’m not saying he is a model citizen nowadays but he hasn’t been arrested since 2008.  He might bring some baggage to the locker room, but if the Steelers could sign him for the right price, it could be worth the risk. The worst case scenario is you bring him in for camp, and if he’s a problem or gets injured again, cut him.  I’m sure Big Ben wouldn’t mind throwing it Holmes again.  He had 20 touchdowns in four seasons as a Steeler.

The risk could payoff extremely well for both Holmes and Steelers.


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Tags: Pittsburgh Steelers Santonio Holmes

  • bk

    I said this a month ago…. if healthy and motivated he is better than anyone on the roster but Brown. As far as the draft goes, I like BeckhamJR more than Evans…
    If they go WR in rd 1 I like them going there… if they want a tall receiver later llok at Norwood or Hoffman in 5th or 6th

    • Brendan Driscoll

      I agree bk, why not take the risk? If it doesn’t work no harm, no foul. As for the draft, I’m a big Mike Evans fan. He could be just like Vincent Jackson. Imagine him and Brown for Big Ben to throw to for the next couple of years. But the Steelers would have to trade up him so it’s probably just a dream.

  • Jordan Smith

    You made the biggest argument against yourself in the second paragraph: he wants more money than the Steelers can give him. That is, unless you think Holmes will still be available after June 1st, after a large portion of Woodley’s contract comes off the books.

    I’d be incredibly surprised if Holmes was re-signed. I’d be stoked, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. We’re going to draft Robinson in the second round, and that’s going to be the last real receiver we add before the season.

    • Eric Robinson

      Robinson wont be around for us in the 2nd round now after his pro day.

      • Jordan Smith

        Hmm, I think there’s enough choice at receiver and enough teams with more compelling needs that he’ll be around in spite of his great pro day. Even if he isn’t, we’re going to end up with a good receiver in Round 2. I think the FO is concerned enough with the shoddiness of the defense that they’ll take either Gilbert (god willing), or Dennard with the 15th, depending on who’s available. They can no longer afford to be in the mindset of drafting fourth, fifth, and sixth rounders and hoping they pan out. For every Keenan Lewis there are three Curtis Browns. Before, at least Ike was playing fairly well, so the impetus wasn’t as high to take a stud corner. But after last year’s steep drop in play level, no corner being signed beyond obvious depth (McCain), and the clear separation of the two best corners from the rest of the group (sorry Fuller bandwagon), this has to be the year they break the mold.

        • Anthony Chiado

          Justin Gilbert and Darqueze Dennard are in no way the two best corners in the class. They also don’t fit in the Steelers defense. If either of them are the pick, you can chalk it down with Ziggy as another wasted first rounder.

          • Jordan Smith

            …so then who are the two best corners? And I’d love to hear how neither Gilbert nor Dennard fit. Does Gilbert not fit because he actually hangs onto the ball for an interception instead of watching it bounce off his hands? Does Dennard not fit because he can actually play man coverage? If you think either of them wouldn’t make an immediate impact in sub packages, you’ve been drinking too much Ebron koolaid.

          • Anthony Chiado

            In my opinion Fuller and Verrett are far and away the two best corners.
            As for how Gilbert doesn’t fit, at this point he is strictly a press corner. He struggles in off man (which the Steelers play) and is atrocious against the run. He is more of an athlete than a cornerback.
            As for how Dennard doesn’t fit, he is also much better in press than in off man. He is hips aren’t fluid and he struggles to turn and run with receivers. Both of which are critical skills in for an off man cornerback.
            I don’t think it matters if they are used in sub packages or not, they still don’t fit LeBeau’s defensive scheme. In 5 years they both may have developed the traits needed to excel in LeBeau’s defense, but as of now I don’t think they are ready to play in an off man scheme. That’s just my opinion.
            Also, how does me not liking Gilbert and Dennard have anything to do with Ebron?

          • Jordan Smith

            Yes, and you’re in the minority with that opinion. Verrett is undisciplined (many penalties, bites on fakes) and doesn’t have the strength to shed blocks. He hits high when he tackles, and because of his smaller frame, that leads to him being injured – as he was often last year. Fuller is a shoddy tackler in the open field, and is equally injury prone. The same qualities that make him a great blitzer can get him into trouble in coverage: he sometimes gambles with his positioning, and his over-aggressiveness on routes backfires because of it. Those are objective statements. You should probably deal in those, instead of greatly exaggerating flaws in Gilbert and Dennard. Gilbert isn’t “atrocious” against the run. Is he the best corner from a run support perspective? No. He hits and tackles below his weight, and lunges more often than he wraps up, but he’s almost always eluding his block to make a play on the ball carrier. If he were truly “atrocious,” he wouldn’t be consistently considered the best corner. Cover skills are great, but not at the total expense of other facets of the game. Likewise, Dennard doesn’t “struggle” to turn and run with receivers. In fact, almost every scouting report I’ve seen and what games I’ve watched indicated just the opposite – that he is fluid in his movements and his shadowing of receivers. So I’m not sure what you’re basing your opinion on. If anything, the biggest knock I’ve heard on him is his flat-out speed, and that likely at least has an air of legitimacy. Michigan State got a lot of pressure on QBs, so Dennard wasn’t tested deep often, at least in what I saw. Does that mean he’s slow? No. What it means is we don’t have the best picture of how he’d hold up having to run the length of the field, hopefully something Jarvis Jones and Jason Worilds would have a hand in preventing.

            Ultimately, I think what you’re failing to understand is that the team’s corners primarily play off man because they suck at press coverage. It’s not that zone coverage is inherently superior to man – it isn’t. The fact is, the corners on the team lack the quickness or athleticism to succeed in press coverage. So if the team brings in Gilbert, a corner who possesses both those traits at elite levels, Lebeau isn’t going to force him into a scheme that minimizes his talents. He’s going to work his talents into the scheme. Another commenter said it best, and I’m paraphrasing here: ‘Rod Woodson didn’t spend his years here playing ten yards off his man.’ Even if your assertions about Fuller and Verrett being better corners were true – which, arguably, they aren’t – wouldn’t you assume that with Carnell Lake and Dick Lebeau on our coaching staff, that they’d take the superior athlete who’s a bit more ‘raw’? I’d imagine they would. If Gilbert and Dennard are available at 15, odds are they’ll take one of them. And as fans, we should be excited if they do.

            As for my Ebron comment, I stated that insofar as I think that you’ll only be satisfied if the Steelers select Ebron at 15 (since you’ve commented saying that he should be the pick, unless I’m mistaken), assuming no earth shattering fall of a can’t miss prospect occurs, like Clowney being available. Which is fine, because he’d be a great selection, but only in the event that neither Gilbert nor Dennard are available. The offense has been winning games that the defense tried to blow the last three seasons. The defense needs to get better.

          • Anthony Chiado

            1. We must be watching different film because Verrett is the best corner in the class by a long shot at taking on blocks and defending the run. Gilbert, on the other hand, is below average at taking on blocks and defending the run. When I said he was atrocious I was more talking about his skills in relation to where he is being projected.
            2. The biggest reason I have a mid 2nd round grade on Dennard is because he struggles to turn and run with receivers downfield. He also gets way too physical and coverage and will attract flags at the next level. Just a tip: don’t rely on other people’s scouting reports for your information, you don’t know how much film they actually watched.
            3. While you are definitely right about most of our corners being awful in press coverage, I think we have different takes on the relationship between their usage and their skill-set. My opinion is that most of them are liabilities in press coverage because the FO and coaches drafted them to fit the scheme, not that they play the scheme because they’re bad.
            4. I would jump for joy if Ebron was available at 15 and he was the pick, but that is in no way the only pick I would be satisfied with. I would also be satisfied with ODB, Fuller, Verrett, Donald, or any player that fell substantially (i.e. Clowney or Mack). I 100% agree with your point about the defense needing to get better, which is why I think that if Ebron or ODB aren’t there at pick 15 then you turn to defense.
            6. My disliking of Gilbert and Dennard is mainly as a Steelers prospect. I think they would be fine first (Gilbert) and second (Dennard) round picks for a team whose scheme they fit. If somehow Gilbert is available in the second or Dennard is available in the third I think they would be good picks, assuming another cornerback wasn’t taken earlier. I think that if they land in an off man scheme like LeBeau’s they could absolutely have success. I just think it would take a while for them to adjust to the scheme. They both have all the physical tools that you want as a cornerback, they just need to improve some of their skills that are coachable to have success in an off man scheme.

          • Jordan Smith

            1. I’ve actually seen more than a few instances of Verrett getting held off the point of attack for longer than you’d expect. But we’re both in agreement that he’s better at defending the run than Gilbert. I still don’t think his skills relative to his projected choice are too different – to me, he definitely merits a top 15 pick.

            2. He does get a bit handsy at times further down the field, and that’s something he’s going to need to be coached out of, but I think many college CBs have successfully kicked that habit. And like in my earlier post, we’ve got two of the best defensive coaches in the game to help on that front. He also seems to have decent enough closing speed to break on the ball without having to resort to tugging a jersey or extending an arm. As somebody who played the position, I actually like what I’ve seen with respect to Dennard’s fluidity: I haven’t seen the dreaded stiff hips, and his footwork seems solid. Where do you see the problem? As for trusting scouting reports, I might have a bit of selection bias, but between what I saw in games and what I’ve read, the points I make about Dennard and Gilbert seem to be the consensus. At some point, you have to trust that the people paid to do this know what they’re doing.

            3. It was always my impression that we shifted away from predominately man coverage as we ended up with weaker corners. It’s a lot to ask of a secondary to match up at the line with a team’s #1 and #2 receivers when you’re working with fourth round projects.

            4. Would you take Ebron over Mosley? I just think that the relative value of the pick dictates that we should be picking on the defensive side of the ball. I think an ILB duo of Mosley and Timmons would be epic, and worth more value than Ebron and Heath, because it would be a more drastic improvement to a worse unit (the defense in tota). Vince Williams did a good job in a tough spot last year, but Mosley could be a perennial Pro-Bowler. You’re a bit higher on ODB than I am. I think he should be picked in the second round, but will probably be the first receiver taken in the second round. I actually like Robinson better, but that’s just my Pennsylvania bias showing. I hope he falls to us, but like his dad Eric (just kidding dude) said in the comment above, that’s likely wishful thinking.

            5. I still think that the scheme isn’t ironclad. I really believe that if the right talent was available, Lebeau would absolutely adjust the scheme. Think of Polamalu. Polamalu provided Lebeau with more freedom than anyone in their right mind would have reasonably anticipated, and so, he tailored the scheme around his unique talents. I absolutely think that someone as explosively fast and instinctive as Gilbert represents an opportunity to tweak the scheme. Even if it’s as simple as consistently matching him with the best receiver (or most targeted to that point) on the field at the time. The zone directly adjacent to him would have to be more fluid, but I don’t think that’s much of a hurdle. We both know they (Gilbert and Dennard) are great cornerbacks, we just have different opinions on how great they can be as Steelers, and how long it will take them to get there.

          • Anthony Chiado

            I’m glad we agree on a few things! If you don’t mind me asking, what level did you play corner at?
            As for Ebron over Mosley, I would definitely take Ebron. That is mostly due to the fact that I think Vince Williams can be a successful starting linebacker in a year or two, though. Whether you would take Mosley or not I guess depends on your opinion of Williams. I do, however, think that they need to take a nickel linebacker in the mid to late rounds. The guy I think they should take, who Dom Di Tolla turned me on to, is Marquis Flowers from Arizona.

          • Jordan Smith

            I played in high school and briefly in college.

            I agree that Vince Williams could be pretty good with some more seasoning, but I think Mosley would be one of very few defensive prospects who could provide an immediate impact, and his ceiling is higher than Williams’. I’m also not sure Williams can keep the spot away from Sean Spence, provided he can stay on the field. Ebron would be great, no doubt about it, but I just think the defense needs more splash players than the offense at this point.

            Flowers…that name sounds familiar. Was he the one who converted from safety? I don’t know much about him, but like you, Dom writes solid stuff, so if he’s intrigued, it’s likely with good reason.

          • Anthony Chiado

            Thank you for the compliment.
            I’m not sure whether Flowers converted from safety or not, but he is 6’3″ and 231 pounds so it would make sense if he did. Dom would know more about that since he lives in Tucson.

  • Nick Ruozzi


  • trinity

    That would be a terrible idea. You mentioned the “injury plagued” seasons in new York. They were also drama plagued because he is a diva, with a horrible attitude, and a locker room cancer. And that in with the injuries and the fact that he’s a senior citizen in football years, and that’s just not a smart idea.

    • Brendan Driscoll

      He is an injury risk for sure but I’m guessing any team that signs him will have a some type of injury clause to get out of the contract if he goes down again. As for being a diva, I don’t think he was a big problem for the Jets when they were winning. When Mark Sanchez started struggling, sure he had some issues, but Big Ben isn’t Sanchez, and winning/getting balls thrown your way (and are catchable) will make anybody happy.
      I’m just nervous about what they do in the draft and if they grab somebody who isn’t ready right away, the receiving core just isn’t very strong.

  • prnitz

    I would be happy with the kid from Vanderbilt in the second round. or the Hines Ward clone at LSU in the third. Only way I see them taking a receiver in the first round is if they want a TE and go for Ebron, or believe in the Penn State kid to start right away. Personally id prefer to see a defensive difference maker at 15, reciever later. Cornerback, inside linebacker, tackle, all big needs that should be addressed before WR unless somebody really outstanding falls

  • [email protected]

    Holmes not coming back he left the STEELERS on bad terms .

  • [email protected]

    Dude, the question isn’t WHAT drugs you are on, but WHICH?