Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Here We Go ...

Yesterday was a sucky day in Pittsburgh Sports:
  • The Penguins lost to the Washington Capitals, as Sydney Crosby and Alexei Ovechbitch matched impressive hat tricks, while Evgeni Malkin once again displayed why Ovechkin was the consensus No. 1 Overall Pick in the NHL draft four years ago, since Geno once again seems to have more or less "disapeared" as a force in the playoffs. More importantly, the Pens must figure out the Caps' 20-year-old goalie, whatever his name is, or it will be a short playoff season.
  • The Pirates once again lost to the Milwaukee Brewers -- 16 in a row to that team! -- which is nice symmetry, considering the Buccos are working on their 16th (17th? ... sorry, lost track, consecutive losing season). No more needs be said about that situation.
  • The Steelers released Larry Foote, sadly and ostensibly for the always lamentable salary-cap reasons, but there's more to that story, much more ... only we outsiders and simpletons simply do not know the real story.
We're left to speculate. Okay. We can do that.

Larry Foote may want to go home to Detroit for personal reasons. If so, fine, and it was gracious of the Steelers to allow him to do so, as he was under contract for another year at a reported $2.885 million. Fact is, he may get less money to play for the Lions this year ... although he may be able to negotiate what he considers a better long-term contract to supersede the one has. Maybe not.

Okay, so it's over and done, with both parties moving on. Just wondering, though, what kind of pre- and draft-day trade negotiations the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions may have had (or not).

Consider this: Both the Steelers and Lions traded their respective draft day picks at the end of the second round (Steelers, at 2.32, and Lions, at 3.1).

It is inconceivable that the two teams did not discuss dealing with each other -- especially considering the two teams made draft-days deals of adjacent picks.

Larry Foote almost certainly was part of that discussion.

The Steelers, entering the draft, had to know the Lions were interested in Foote (and that Foote wanted to go to Detroit) . The Lions, having read the pre-draft news reports like the rest of us, had to know the Steelers were planning to release Foote (at his request, reportedly).

All we can review at this point are the facts, and our viewpoint of course. This year's draft was considered to be thin at the top but deep into the later rounds. After all, Pittsburgh and Detroit had dramatically different priorities
  • The veteran-laden, Super Bowl-winning Steelers had to fill a handful of immediate and longer-term holes to buttress an already stong core. That translates to addressing specific needs on the defensive and line and offensive lines; in the secondary (cornerback, with the departure of Bryant McFadden); the return game (long a need); and short-yardage situations (also long a need); and speed receiver (a newer need with the departure of Nate Washington via free agency).
  • The 0-16 Lions have holes everywhere and must rebuild from the ground up, especially on that Biblical-epic bad defense -- particularly at inside linebacker -- which where Larry Foote should have been part of the discussion.
A stare-down Poker Game .... more on this later.