Steelers don't tender offers for Davis, Stapleton
Thursday, March 04, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers did not tender an offer to fullback Carey Davis.

Two more Steelers, one a former starter, will become unrestricted free agents Friday after the team declined to tender them contracts.

Darnell Stapleton, their starting right guard during the 2008 Super Bowl season, and halfback Carey Davis were eligible to become restricted free agents, but the team declined to maintain their rights.

They also issued two other tenders to go with the two that were revealed Tuesday. Starting cornerback William Gay and tight end Matt Spaeth join tackle Willie Colon and punter Daniel Sepulveda as restricted free agents.

Gay and Spaeth each received tenders of slightly more than $1 million as did Sepulveda. Like Sepulveda, each would provide the Steelers with a draft choice if they were to sign elsewhere and the Steelers did not exercise their right to match the contract.

Gay would bring a fifth-round pick and Spaeth a third-rounder. Sepulveda would bring a fourth-round pick and Colon a first-round pick.

Stapleton became their starting right guard early in the 2008 season after an injury to Kendall Simmons, and he started through the Super Bowl. He was placed on injured reserve in training camp last summer after having knee surgery, and Trai Essex took over the position.

Colon received the highest tender from the Steelers at $2.5 million.

Restricted free agents can shop themselves to other teams and sign a contract, but their original team maintains the right of first refusal. Depending on the amount of the tender, the original team would receive a draft pick in return if it did not choose to match. For example, the Steelers tendered kicker Kris Brown in 2002 as an RFA. He signed a contract with Houston. The Steelers declined to match, and they received a sixth-round draft choice in return.

Free agency begins after the stroke of midnight tonight.

Since signing Casey Hampton and franchising Jeff Reed, the Steelers have been negotiating with only one player, safety Ryan Clark, with little success. If they do not sign him by tonight, he will join their list of unrestricted free agents Friday that include halfback Willie Parker, cornerback Deshea Townsend, quarterback Charlie Batch, linebacker Rocky Boiman, safety Tyrone Carter, defensive ends Nick Eason and Travis Kirschke and wide receiver Joey Galloway.

[HIGH-LIGHT]NOTE[/HIGH-LIGHT] -- The Steelers have addressed Hampton's notorious weight issues in his new contract, and it would cost him $1 million if he does not meet the standards agreed upon. Hampton's $21.3 million contract includes a $6.5 million signing bonus as part of his deal with annual compensation of $4 million, $4.91 million and $4.89 million. He will receive an additional $1 million in total, pro-rated, over three seasons if he meets the weight requirements. Mike Tomlin placed Hampton on the physically unable to perform list at the start of the 2008 training camp when the coach said his Pro Bowl nose tackle reported overweight and out of shape.