Pittsburgh Steelers

When money talks- the Rooneys walk

If there’s anything American sports teams are good at, it’s spending money. With the rising salary cap, the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys – as well as many others like the 49ers and Seahawks – have all been pretty good at forking out the riches. Hey, even the Lions tried to better themselves in the off-season via free agency.

One of the biggest teams in the NFL has not made a move in the off-season, and that is Pittsburgh Steelers.
Does it matter to the Steelers’ owners, the Rooney Family that the team that won in 2006 were a pretty awful 8-8 last year and their long-time coach Bill Cowher left under a cloud after the season ended? Does it matter that the way the salary cap is skyrocketing – around 25 per cent over the last two seasons, then there might room for TWO NFL teams under the Steelers’ salary cap in a couple of seasons time?

And remember in Rooneyland, it doesn’t matter if you’re a star. Linebacker Joey Porter, who was the heart, soul and mouth of the Steelers team when it won Super Bowl, was let go because of “financial considerations.” And to make matters worse for Steeler Nation, he signed for the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday night on a $20 million, five-year deal – making the Dolphins even better as they search for the AFC play-off place that has eluded them for the past few seasons. “Joey’s always been the catalyst of our defence. There’s no question losing Joey Porter hurts our team defensively,” said Ben Rothlisberger, Steelers quarterback, to the US media. Funny that, `Big Ben’ rather hurt his team offensively last year when he was injured in an off-season bike wreck, and then proceeded to have be incredibly indifferent for most of the season.

But should Steeler players and fans alike be surprised by the lack of dollars coming out of Rooney wallets? After all, they didn’t bother trying to resign Antwaan Randle-El, one of their better wide receivers for the 2006 season, despite the fact he put up 500 yards receiving for the second year in a row and score a bunch of touchdowns. And as an ex-college quarterback, he was good for the `trick’ play – remember the 44 yard bomb he threw to Hines Ward in the Super Bowl? However, loyalty has a price, and Randle-El went to the Steeltown scrapheap.

So if you’re a Steelers fan, you’ve got to ask yourself: who’s next? Will it be safety Troy Polamalu, one of the best defensive backs in the game? Or will it be veteran guard Alan Faneca, who has served them for a decade and started 137 of 142 games in that period? How about cornerback Bryant McFadden or defensive back Anthony Smith? In this age of teams splurging the house on free agents, is it possible they could ALL go, leaving the Steelers with practically nobody?

And it’s not like the Steelers don’t have any needs this year. After the loss of center Jeff Hartings to retirement, the Steelers are desperate for a new center. And now they’ve lost Porter, they need a good outside linebacker too. And how about a new wide receiver to partner Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward? Oh, and if DeShea Townsend ends up going to jail, then they need another cornerback, too.

“It’s a point where the Steelers may have to adjust their thinking a little bit as to what they’re prepared to pay players,” said agent Jeff Sperbeck told the US media. He knows a little thing about the gold and black – he represents Porter and Steelers linebacker Clark Haggans. “The salary cap is increasing, and they’re going to have to evaluate that closely.” Not like the Dolphins, Jeff. After all, they’ve just paid $20 million for one of your guys.

The good thing about the Rooney family being tight is that they aren’t going to mortgage the team paying for one star, which completely ruins the balance of the team. Leave that to Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, who dropped nearly $50 million for offensive linesman Leonard Davis, who has not yet made a Pro Bowl. But if they are to keep up with the Joneses, they’re going to have to pull their money out of the wallet sometime, or it’ll be another 20 years until the Steelers win the coveted Championship again.

One reply on “When money talks- the Rooneys walk”

If I give the Rooneys credit for one thing.. it’s cutting the likes of Joey Porter and letting players like Randle El sign elsewhere. There’s a bunch of reasons they let Porter go…First, he wasn’t as effective this year as he’s been, and for the money he wants, why pay that? You pay guys on the way up, not the way down. Second, there is a good chance the Steelers might switch to a 4-3 defence (as you put it) this year, so why pay a guy premium money (or any money??) when they’re practically eliminating his position? Does that make sense? And third, the guy planned on holding out anyway, so why have that distraction in a rookie coach’s first training camp? Better to just cut him loose and wish him luck. Just because Miami signed him for all that $$$, it doesn’t make them smart. It makes them look desperate. But that will be determined later. And when you have Polamalu coming up after this year, who would you rather have? They know that they can’t keep both and sign other players. In the NFL, you’ve got to make decisions for a few years down the road sometime.

As far as Randle El, only Daniel Snyder is ass enough to pay a #3 wide receiver in your offense # 1 money, and for you to call him one of the best receivers in the game is just plain ridiculuos. I don’t recalll any Super Bowl parades in the DC/Northern Virginia area recently, do you? I missed the trick plays, but I don’t understand why Hines Ward hasn’t been doing any (he was a QB in college too). It’s play calling, not personnel. Plus, Willie Reid isn’t an “experiment”, he’s a damn good pro prospect who happened to be injured last year.

Plus, Jeff Sperbeck is an AGENT. What is he supposed to say? “yeah, I think my clients should make less money.” That’s just dumb.

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