Sunday, July 24, 2011

Top Five Free Agents that WON'T Be Coming To Pittsburgh

With the NFL lockout seemingly drawing to a close, at least, in a similar way that Return of the King drew to a close, it's time to take a look at what the Steelers should do once they can finally do business again. The boys over at Blitzburgh Blog did an awesome job of outlining 8 roster moves the Steelers need to make once the lockout ends. In the wake of that, we're not going to basically re-post what they've said. They summed up everything we could think. So instead of saying what the Steelers should do, we're going to take a look at what they won't do. Regardless of what you've heard on TV or Radio, read in the paper or on Twitter, or might think in your own head, here are Five Free Agents that WILL NOT be wearing black and gold come September.

1. Plaxico Burress

There's been a lot of talk that since Plax is now out of the slammer, there's some reason why the Steelers would be interested in bringing him back. I guess if the Steelers are interested in guys who don't know how to run a fade route or will drop big balls at key moments of playoff games, then sure, they'd bring Plax back. But in reality, the Steelers have 4 solid receivers on their depth chart (Ward, Wallace, Sanders, Brown) and wouldn't be able to land Plax for any cheaper than the remaining guys currently on their roster (Battle - 1.3 million cap hit, Randle El - 2.3 million cap hit, Sweed - 938K cap hit). In all likelihood, Battle, El, and Sweed will fight it out in camp for the last roster spot. El Yeah might be a cap casualty or the Steelers could look to restructure his deal.

2. Nnamdi Asomugha

This one is pure and simply an issue of money. Asomugha is the best corner in the league and is going to land a monster deal somewhere. With the Steelers sitting about $10 million over the proposed salary cap, they just don't have the money to sign Asomugha. Look for someone like Houston, Tampa Bay or (worst case scenario) Cincinnati that needs to spend a buttload of money just to get to cap floor to land Asomugha.

3. Tiki Barber

About a month or so ago, Barber came out and said he wanted to try to return to the NFL. He also mentioned that the two teams he was most interested in playing for were the Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This started a wave of "Barber to the Steelers?!" talk, that was pretty much unsubstantiated. Barber is 36 years old and hasn't played in the NFL since 2006. What the Steelers need in a running back is a 3rd down back if Mewelde Moore doesn't come back. In other words, the Steelers are looking for someone who is quick, has good hands, and can block. Barber isn't going to come back for the veteran minimum and the Steelers won't be able to afford a back for much more than that. If 7th round pick Baron Batch pans out as a 3rd down back, the Steelers contingent of backs will likely be Mendenhall, Redman, Dwyer, and Batch.

4. Terrell Owens/Chad Ochocinco/Randy Moss

Yeah, not happening.

5. Willie Parker

The Willie Parker movement, somewhat surprisingly, was actually started by THE Fast Willie Parker himself. After leaving Pittsburgh last year to seek greener pastures, Parker found that there wasn't as high a demand as he thought for an aging running back with a history of injury issues. He wound up landing with the Washington Redskins, who apparently don't have the best locker room in the league. What a shocker. Parker has repeatedly said he wants to come back to Pittsburgh, but it doesn't seem likely the Steelers will sign him. We'll always have fond memories of Fast Willie's gamebreaking run in Super Bowl XL. That said, Parker wasn't the best at pass protection and wasn't a great receiver out of the backfield. Seeing as the Steelers biggest need at RB right now is for a 3rd down back that can be a receiver out of the backfield, Parker's skill set and the Steelers needs don't seem well-aligned. If Parker is looking for anything more than the veteran minimum, he won't find it in Pittsburgh with our current salary cap situation.

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