Friday, March 11, 2005

Good News, Bad News

First, the good news:

... At the rate Plaxico Burress is going, he'll end up back in Pittsburgh for the veteran minimum. For some inexplicable reason, Plax was never really pursued during free agency, and watched from the sidelines as guys like Mushin Muhammad and Derrick Mason sign big deals, while he's been relegated to getting dissed by a New York Giants team that just released Ike Hilliard. Today he'll be in Minnesota -- another team that has made it clear they're not interested in breaking the bank -- to maybe discuss the possibility of signing a one-year contract, racking up a bunch of catches, and then going back out on the free agent market next off-season.

Minnesota might be a good fit for Plax in terms of padding his stats, but the Vikes and the Redskins are currently battling for title of "team with the most off-the-field drama." Not only that, but once Minnesota fans realize that Plax isn't Randy Moss, things could go south quickly (it'll be sometime during the first game when fans realize that "yards after catch" and "Plaxico Burress" are antonyms).

So maybe the Steelers do know what they're doing. They refused to franchise Burress for $7+ million next season -- and by not tagging him, took the chance that he may get out of Pittsburgh without the Steelers getting any compensation -- and now it looks like they made the right decision. And in the interim, they've signed Cedrick Wilson, a self-proclaimed speed guy (I love it when guys do a lot of self-proclamations), and may look to get more talent in the draft.

Of course, one of the reasons I'd make a horrible GM (other than the obvious point that I don't know anything about being a GM) is that I hate seeing players released, traded or not re-signed. I mean, if I had anything to do with Steeler personnel decisions, Lee Flowers would still be playing safety ... right next to Rod Woodson.

Now the bad news:

... Israel (the person, not the country) left this comment earlier in the week:

And speaking - as we were a few days ago - about Keydrick, note that he is talking to the Browns and the Ravens. I'd rather he went someplace far away in the NFC, if we have to lose him.

Yep. I agree. But unfortunately, the Ravens signed him yesterday. And the thing is, it wasn't for a whole lot of money. Specifically, Baltimore got Vincent for three years at $4.64 million (which included a signing bonus of $1.25 million). That sounds like peanuts -- especially when you consider that the Steelers had talked about trying to re-sign him and have him backup Max Starks at right tackle. This leads to the question of why they didn't try and keep Oliver Ross, but he may have wanted to start, so staying in Pittsburgh would have been untenable -- at least until either RG Kendall Simmons or Starks gets injured and then we have to relive the 2003 season that saw way too much of Todd Fordham (who in 2005 will be played by Barrett Brooks).

But hey, given how things are going for other teams around the league this off-season (yes you Washington Redskins), this has been a pretty boring time of year for the Steelers. It looks like they've lost Plax, but they have an opportunity to get better at WR through the draft. And if they can avoid injuries, they may actually be a better team offensively with Simmons returning and Starks slated to start. Of course a lot of their success will depend on the maturation of Roethlisberger, how (and if) the Bus bounces back for his 40th season in the league, and how this team adjusts to not having Plax at WR. But like I said, it could be much worse.