Thursday, February 09, 2006

Before We Move On

Before we totally close the book on the 2005 season, I thought it might be worthwhile to centralize all the Steelers links into one post. Just for old times sake and all. So here goes:

Week 1: Sophomore Slump (Titans)
Week 2: Witness Protection Program (Texans)
Week 3: A Little Setback (Patriots)
Week 5: Big Business (Chargers)
Week 6: Two & One (Jaguars)
Week 7: The Ball Never Lies (Bengals)
Week 8: Skippy & the PumpKing (Ravens)
Week 9: Bend but don't Break (Packers)
Week 10: Charlie Gun (Browns)
Week 11: Back to the Future (Ravens)
Week 12: Ass, Meet Hand (Colts)
Week 13: Eight Ball (Bengals)
Week 14: One Down, Three to Go (Bears)
Week 15: Two Down, Two to Go (Vikings)
Week 16: Three Down, One to Go (Browns)
Week 17: It's Go Time (Lions)
Week 18: We Dey (Bengals)
Week 19: The Ball Never Lies, II (Colts)
Week 20: It's On Like Donkey Kong (Broncos)
Week 21: 3rd and 28 (Seahawks)

So there you have it, a nice little concise stroll down memory lane. And if you order in the next 24 hours, you get the 2004 Steelers season absolutely free.

Well, now that the 2005 season is officially in the books, we can start talking about the really important stuff. You know, like free agency and the draft. Eric gives us a head start with this link, and I'll go ahead and list all the Steelers' free agents below. We've already discussed Randle El and the likelihood he'll return, and starting next week I'll talk about the other free agents, both unrestricted and restricted, and what options the Steelers have going forward. In the meantime, feel free to leave your thoughts about who should stay, who should go, who's a priority, and who's a luxury, and I'll do the same. All this talk should keep us busy until the draft.
Pos. Unsigned         FA type
DE B. Keisel UFA
S C. Hope UFA
WR Q. Morgan UFA
CB D. Townsend UFA
WR A. Randle El UFA
QB C. Batch UFA
DT K. von Oelhoffen UFA
TE J. Tuman UFA
RB V. Haynes UFA
LB C. Kriewaldt UFA
T B. Brooks UFA


CB I. Taylor RA
WR S. Morey RA
OK, saying you'll try and rank free agents in terms of importance is pretty difficult. So, in all honesty, there could be 10 different combinations of this list (with this one constant: Barrett Brooks, adios). I think Brett Keisel is very important to the defense, but then again, so is Chris Hope. I have Quincy Morgan above Randle El because I think Morgan has a chance to be a better number two receiver, but that means that the special teams will take a big hit if Antwaan doesn't re-sign. I know the secondary is deep, but Deshea is still very good, and might be a better nickel back than outside corner. Given that Ben suffered a number of injuries in 2005, Maybe Batch should be even higher on this list, but like I said, this was a lot tougher than I initially figured. Depending on what happens with Duce (will he restructure?, will he be healthy?, will he get cut?), Verron could be more important than ever. Tuman is a solid blocking tight end, and Kreiwaldt is a very good special teams player. I don't reckon they'll get a lot of interest on the free agent market, but what the hell do I know? Obviously, it's important the Steelers re-sign Taylor, but that might not happen until next off-season, which probably means it'll cost a lot more. But given all the free agents this year, I just don't see Pittsburgh doing anything with him in the near future.

Anyway, have at it, and we'll discuss all this stuff in more detail next week.