Fittipaldo On The Steelers

Ray Fittipaldo of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hosted a chat with fans this afternoon, and some noteworthy tidbits came out of it. For instance, he says it was not foolish for the Steelers to not make a run at Brandon Flowers. Flowers can make up to $5MM this year in incentives and the club has only $6MM of cap space, which it would like to keep for potential signings or extensions.

Speaking of which, Fittipaldo believes Cortez Allen may be the next player to get an extension. He writes, “[Allen] hasn’t exactly been a model of consistency but he has the raw skills to be a good corner in this defense. The last time the Steelers let a CB play out the final year of his deal [Keenan Lewis] they could not afford to keep him.”

Here are some more highlights from Fittipaldo:

  • Fittipaldo does not believe Pittsburgh is done signing free agents, but, as with most teams, any signings at this point would probably be to replace a player who gets injured in camp.
  • Brett Keisel remains a possibility for the club, but, as Fittipaldo observes, “if [the Steelers] really thought they absolutely had to have him back they would have done it June 2 when they got the cap relief.” A Kesiel signing becomes more likely if there is an injury or if the team’s younger defensive linemen do not impress in camp.
  • In response to a reader’s speculation that 2014 could be the last year for Troy Polamalu in a Steeler’s uniform, Fittipaldo notes that there is dead money on Polamalu’s contract through 2016, so if he plays well enough, there is incentive to keep him. On the other hand, he plays a position where speed and quickness is essential, and you never know “when a player’s wheels are going to fall off.”
  • As he has noted in previous pieces, Fittipaldo writes that the Steelers are changing their approach when it comes to younger players. Rather than waiting until their third year in the league to learn about them, the Steelers will throw those players into the fire and cope with their growing pains. That certainly seems to be their approach with first-round pick Ryan Shazier.
  • Fittipaldo points to the team’s lack of depth along the defensive line as a pressing concern, and, to that end, notes that NT Steve McLendon could have a breakthrough season. Considering the importance of the nose tackle in the Steelers’ defense, they desperately need him to emerge as a quality starter.


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