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The Steelers are in a tough salary cap spot but there is a need for a shake up this offseason. The most obvious way to go about doing that is to try and shed some big cap numbers but really the Steelers find themselves in a position where there is essentially no way to do that without completely gutting a part of the team.
Only 8 players have a cap number greater than 3 million headed into next season. The guy with the biggest number is Ben Roethlisberger. You can't get rid of a franchise quarterback as he is the piece you retool around. Also in this group of 8 are his two best weapons, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller. Again you can not take the best weapons out of this offense.
On the defensive side of the ball Woodley comes with the biggest cap hit and while he is in theory a player the Steelers could be in a position to let go releasing him actually causes a bigger cap hit than keeping him. Timmons who has the third highest cap hit on the team is in a similar position to Woodley. I'm not quite certain if cutting him causes a bigger hit against the cap than keeping him but it is close enough that the savings wouldn't be worth doing so. Two other players taking up large chunks of cap room are Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu. Coming into this season those two seemed like possible cap casualties but both seem revived and our key pieces of the secondary. Removing either or both of them likely cripples that unit.
All that leaves us with is the lowest of the 8 in Maurkice Pouncey. With his injury history it at least has to be considered but given the volatile nature of the Steelers offensive line removing him from the equation seems highly unlikely.
Outside of those 8 players there appear to be a lot of disposable pieces but none of them are really going to have much of an impact on the cap situation. The Steelers need to retool this team and start diverting cap space away from their increasingly aging core but removing any of the 8 players who are receiving the big money likely marks the start of a rebuild not a retool. This team is not as bad off from a talent stand point as it may seem. Sure they could use another playmaker on offense and an heir apparent to the aging Taylor and Polamalu. What they do lack though is the financial flexibility to start making the core of this team younger. The question is how do you gain that while not completely tearing down a team with some good talent.
To me... [Read More]
Here you go, kids - sorry it's not as timely as it should have been. Recorded it last Thursday and I should have had it up by Saturday at the very latest, but there've been some difficulties recently in the Cocktailsfor2 household, so...
Frequent-and-becoming-most-popular guest Neal H. goes over the 2013 season, AJ, Taillon, Wandy, Polanco, Hanson, Rule 5, 40-Man roster, AFL, and more. As usual, he's very generous with his time, and we certainly appreciate it.
Speaking of appreciation, I also wanna thank everybody on PSF who listens to the podcast - even if you don't leave a comment - Pirates fans are the best, and you're exactly why we do this. So thank you, and also a very big THANK YOU to Kipper & Steelreign for letting me post it up here.
As usual, there are technical glitches, this time mostly because lightning hit my building recently and screwed up my ethernet & modem. So a coupla times, conversations are just gonna stop mid-sentence. Not a lot I could do about that.
Your thoughts on the 40-man roster? Who's gonna be left exposed in the Rule 5 Draft comin' up?
This was a questions I posed on Twitter immediately after the Penguins defeated the Edmonton Oilers. The next game on the schedule was the Philadelphia Flyers and I knew fans were looking forward to that game. Obviously, with the Penguins just wrapping up their game, the majority of fans responded with the Flyers and Penguins as Pittsburgh's best sports rivalry. However, the other two options I posted were the Steelers and Ravens, and the Reds and Pirates. Some might argue other teams should be involved (like the Cardinals), but in my opinion its one of those three. Question is, which is the best?
This is when the debate begins. What are the criteria for which rivalry is considered "the best"? Is it the longevity of the rivalry? If so, you have to turn to the Flyers and Penguins for that. Is it the teams that have had the biggest competition when it matters the most? If so, that would be the Ravens and Steelers that have met on the NFL's biggest stages within the AFC. Is it which rivalry is the most heated TODAY? If that is what you are following, then it easily could be the Reds and the Pirates with the Pirates and Reds not only playing each other 19 times a year, but the bad blood that runs deep between the two teams.
Anyway you slice it, these three options are all viable options as "the best". If you are asking me which rivalry ranks atop my list...well...the first to be eliminated is the Pirates and Reds. Plain and simple, this is just a budding rivalry. Keep these teams together and playing competitive baseball and they certainly could move up the list, but its just too fresh. Not to mention its difficult to put a non contact sport (yeah I know alot of batters were HBP this year) ahead of two sports that have physical contact woven into game play.
That leaves the Ravens and Steelers, and Flyers and Penguins. Some would argue this is more about... [Read More]
When you look at the Steelers 2013 season so far, there are a lot of things that you can point a finger at and say that's what is wrong. It has applied to the offensive line, the secondary, the running game, the tackling on defense and the coaching. The target for most of the blame for the myriad of the teams issues is Todd Haley followed by Mike Tomlin, and while they have made their share of mistakes, like having "The Human Ice wagon" Jericho Cotchery run a wide receiver end around, they can only get so much out of the talent available to them. The issue facing the Steelers is plain and simple, it is a glaring lack of Talent which has led to the lack of execution of the game plan on both sides of the ball. Let's start off with the issues on offense first.
On all the social networks, when it comes to criticism of the offense, the greatest share of the overwhelming share of the blame goes to Todd Haley, which is quite unfair. Todd Haley designs the game plans on a weekly basis, Todd Haley doesn't drop passes, doesn't turn the ball over. He also doesn't miss wide open receivers, fail to execute plays or fumble footballs either, the players do. The players are paid well to go out and execute Haley's game plans and during his time in Arizona, his players did a great job executing his game plans as did his players in his first year in Kansas City. If you remember back to last year, the Steelers offense was beginning to roll until injuries began hitting the offense including Ben against The Chiefs. Those teams had impact players, quite a few of them. This year the Steelers have only 3 impact players on offense, Ben, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller and a horrible offensive line. I don't know another OC who could do much more with this offense than Haley has. My biggest complaint is why Markus Wheaton isn't seeing the field more. Haley needs to utilize his explosiveness and speed.
On Defense, the problems are just as glaring as they are on offense. They didn't create their first turnover until week 5 and it came against a rather poor offense with a rookie quarterback. While it was nice to hold the Jets to 6 points, that's like me beating my 10 year old son in a game of one on one basketball, sure it's a win but it's nothing to brag about. When I look at the defense, I see maybe two impact players, Troy and sometimes, Lawrence Timmons, although Jarvis Jones and Shamarko Thomas will be, they aren't right now. The rest of the defense is... [Read More]
| Oct 14, 2013 - 10:56 AM
The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates season is officially over which means it's time to turn our heads towards Free Agency and the future as November looms. The Pirates have a variety of needs.. 1B, RF along with needing to extend Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker. If anyone felt that GM Neal Huntington had his work cut out for him at the Trade Deadline in 2013 to put the Pirates over the top, this Offseason is going to be 10 times more difficult.
Despite there being needs in other areas, the one area of need that fans seem to be ignoring is Starting Pitching.
A.J. Burnett is a Free Agent and Neal Huntington has to replace roughly 191-202 Innings per season to go along with an outstanding FIP, xFIP and ERA that A.J Burnett has produced. At 37, Burnett is way past his prime years and he could fall off a cliff at any point but his production still needs replaced.
So, who do the Pirates replace A.J Burnett with?
The Pirates won't get Burnett's production in Free Agency cheaply and it is questionable whether the Pirates even need a long term solution that they'd have to sign to confidently replace A.J. Butnett's production. Gerrit Cole is their heir apparent ace. Francisco Liriano still is in his prime. Charlie Morton bounced back well despite not throwing all his pitches he used to pre-Tommy Johns. Jeff Locke came into his own before wearing down late and pitchers like Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow are getting closer to their MLB debuts. The Pirates have long term solutions. What they lack is a short term solution until Taillon and Glasnow are ready. A short term solution while Cole further develops into that Ace.
A.J. Burnett is that short term solution.
Yes, Burnett had a bad game in Game 1 of the NLDS. He's not been strong in St.Louis in general. Give the guy a pass. Doug Drabek pitched 2 crummy games against the Braves in the 1992 NLDS that left people wondering why Bob Walk wasn't pitched in Game 7.
Burnett shouldn't be victimized for 1 bad game like ******bag, 3rd-rate "journalists" like Bob Smizik have attempted to do.. (People who know me are waiting for a Bob Smizik rant now!). A.J. Burnett has been more of an MVP to this team than many people realize. He brought in a culture of attitude, swagger, cockiness and desire to win that wasn't here before. Clint Hurdle couldn't bring that. Andrew McCutchen lacks that type of personality.
... [Read More]