Friday, February 02, 2007

Preparations for Free Agency Continue

Rumor has it that there is still one game left in the 2006 season -- something going on in Miami? -- but it doesn't involve the Pittsburgh Steelers, so who really cares? Instead our attention turns to the draft and to the impending free agency season.

According to our friends at the Steelers are going to be $1,440,000 under the cap -- the lowest number of any team in the AFC (by comparison the Indianapolis Colts, the next AFC less than five million dollars under the cap, is projected to be $4,900,000 under the NFL's salary cap). Amongst the teams in the AFC North the Baltimore Ravens are projected to have $5,700,000 available -- assuming that Jamal Lewis, who's cap number for 2007 could be in excess of eleven million dollars isn't cut -- the Cincinnati Bengals are projected to be $28,800,000 below the cap, and Cleveland --despite their spending spree last offseason -- is expected to be $33,305,000 below the cap. Clearly the Steelers have much less flexibility than their rivals.

Of course another aspect of this issue is just how many free agents each team has, and in this respect the Steelers are in decent shape. According to Pro Football Weekly the unrestricted free agents on the Steelers' roster are: Rodney Bailey, Barrett Brooks (one of the oldest players on the roster), Tyrone Carter, Najeh Davenport, Chidi Iwuoma, Mike Logan, and Sean Morey. Meanwhile the restricted free agents are: Tim Euhus, Arnold Harrison, Ronald Stanley, Max Starks, Greg Warren, and Nate Washington.

While the team would like to resign several of these players (e.g. Tyrone Carter, Chidi Iwuoma, and Max Starks) most are eminently replaceable.

As for the other AFC North teams some of the more noteable free agents include: Adalius Thomas (unrestricted, Baltimore), Jarret Johnson (unrestricted, Baltimore), Eric Steinbach (unrestricted, Cincinnati), and Justin Smith (unrestricted, Cincinnati).

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