The Super Bowl Champions Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot of free agents to deal with in the off-season. So far they’ve re-signed left tackle Max Starks, tight end Sean McHugh and left guard Chris Kemoeatu. The most important free agents left include Nate Washington (WR), and Bryant McFadden (CB). Plus, Super Bowl star James Harrison needs a contract extension, as his contract expires in 2010.
Other free agents include: QBs Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich, LT and RTs Willie Colon, Marvel Smith, and Trai Essex, DE Orpheus Roye, LBs Keyaron Fox, Andre Frazier, and Arnold Harrison, CBs Fernando Bryant and Anthony Madison, FS Anthony Smith, and punter Mitch Berger.
In an attempt to fix the offensive line, the Steelers franchised Starks, giving him $8.451 million next season.
"You always want to go with the team that gave you your first opportunity," the 27-year-old Starks. "This is a great city, and I definitely want to continue my career here."
The problem with re-signing Starks is that the Steelers now have serious salary caps issues, considering some players have Super Bowl bonuses. Many people disagree that Starks should get that much money, but it was between him and Marvel Smith. Marvel Smith has always had back problems and if they drafted a new healthy rookie, would he be ready to play next year?
The Steelers are expected to lose Nate Washington. Rumor is that Tampa Bay, Tennessee, and Cleveland are looking at him. He may want to be closer to family. John Harris of the Tribune Review has said Washinton's agent has yet to be contacted by the Steelers. He signed a one-year, $1.417 million contract as a restricted free-agent last year. It would be a sad for Pittsburgh if they lose him.
Bryant McFadden would be a major loss to the Steelers. They have Ike Taylor, Deshea Townsend and William Gay, but they really need a fourth good, solid cornerback.
“He is a priority, but we know we can’t keep this whole team together,” Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “We understand that.”
James Harrison has obviously been a star this season: A Pro bowl appearance, Defensive MVP, and of course, his Super Bowl interception for a touchdown. Can you believe the Steelers cut this guy a couple years ago? It's important that the Steelers keep him on the team, but they are having a little trouble.
Colbert said last week at the NFL scouting combine that "from a selfish standpoint, we want him to finish his career here. From his standpoint, he's earned that, so you want to take care of him."
"We're sharing some numbers. We're not real close on those numbers," Parise, Harrison's agent, said.
The salary cap is a major problem this year, but hopefully the Steelers can get a great both young and experienced team together for next year. Here we go, Steelers! Here we go!