Saturday, February 13, 2010

Jus' kickin' around some internal free agency speculation ...

Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette writes in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that personnel punjab Kevin Colbert (pronounced Col-behr? ... oh, yeah, guess not, that's the other Kevin Colbert) plans to engage in contract discussions with just three of the team's notable five pending free agents.

Those three "priorities" are Casey Hampton, Jeff Reed and Ryan Clark, presumably in that order.

As for the others: "Any of the depth guys, we'll see where they stand and we'll see where we stand as we move into the free agency."

Well, we're betting Willie Parker and DeShea Townsend -- Parker, at least -- may bristle a bit to be dismissed as "depth guys."

Colbert seems to be saying, in effect, "We don't care if we re-sign Parker or Townsend."

With that in mind, expect Fast Willie to leave via free agency, and for Townsend to stay as backup-nickel-dime cornerback/safety and mentor to the younger guys in the secondary.

Regarding the three "priorities," as noted previously here, we expect the Steelers to apply a one-year "non-exclusive franchise tag" on Big Snack.

As for Jeff Reed, we expect the Steelers to make a more-than-decent offer ... which Reed will reject. Considering his legal troubles, which today are current and unresolved but not "major-major," we expect he wants a fresh start. Maybe. Maybe not.

Say, for argument's sake, then, that Reed rejects a reasonable offer from the Steelers -- what then? Should the Steelers exercise the franchise tag on Reed? Tough call -- but the team seems to be lining up backup options (Piotr Czech and/or Adam Graessle?) in case Reed does not return. Are these even options? Or just smoke? No clue.

Here's another thought: Are they they bringing Graessle in as quasi-legitimate competition for punter Daniel Sepulveda -- with Graessle's only advantage over Sepulveda being that he can also kick off. Oh, yeah, and also that Graessle would be a fair amount cheaper than Sepulveda. Hmmm ... are we reading too much into this? Yeah, probably, but still.

Ryan Clark? The Steelers have no truly viable replacement in line, Ryan Mundy notwithstanding. So-o-o-o ... the team will probably keep Clark, but what happens with Jeff Reed could well determine what happens with Ryan Clark. Is this an either/or proposition? It may or may not be, but ... eh, we have a funny feeling that it is.

It sez here that one or the other -- Reed or Clark -- will be on the Steelers' roster come July, but not both. Just a gut feeling.

Good Luck, Peezy

The Miami Dolphins have set the levers in motion to propel into free agency one Joseph Lorenzo Porter, former Steeler linebacker and part namesake/inspiration for this blog (along with his dogs, Tina and Nemo, who ate a horse).

We don’t expect to see you in a Steelers’ uniform again, Peezy, but we love ya for all you brought to the show during your eight years here in Pittsburgh. As crazy as Joey Porter was (is), many of his spontaneous-outburst rants made perfect sense. Remember the Super Bowl run in 2005-06, before the playoff game in Indianapolis and, again, before the Super Bowl? For better or worse, he routinely set the tone ... raucously, outrageously and honestly.

Oft-times, he just couldn't contain himself.

God Bless Joey Porter. The world is a more colorful place with him in it. And congratulations, by the way, for being named to the 2000s NFL All-Decade Team.