Poll Question: Do you think Ryan Kesler will be a Pittsburgh Penguin after 3 p.m. today? Answer #1: Yes (37.5%) Answer #2: No (62.5%)
Whooo: Will the Steelers even talk to Woodley about a possible pay cut or just cut him cold turkey?
Jerry Micco: I think they'll at least talk to him once they are done talking to Worilds about a long-term deal. Remember, they can cut him after June 1 and get even more cap savings. I just don't see them keeping both, but you never know how these things can work. Worilds is a better LOLB and that's where Woodley now plays. I can't imagine him signing and then not playing where he'd be a better pass rusher.
James: Colbert said this is the deepest draft hes seen in 30 years. Is it deeper than the 2010 draft? That draft featured all pros like Bowman, Chancellor, Graham, Atkins and ab on the board in the 3rd round or later
Jerry Micco: I think the draft, on paper, is the deepest in many, many years. But sometimes it takes 3 or 4 years to really know how good a draft is because you don't know how those guys pan out. You cite guys who were drafted late because they weren't thought to be top 3 picks. But look where there are now. Never know when you draft. Always a crap shoot.
Chunkles: Jerry, the Steelers are not one or two players away from a Super Bowl ring. Why not accept that they have to get young and move all their vets off the books except Troy? Let the defense rebuild. Ben is young enough to wait a couple years for another ring.
Jerry Micco: The Steelers do not accept that philosophy and they think they can contend for the division title this year. Given that they were 6-2 over the second half of the season, maybe they can. But they are going to have to get better on defense and get more consistent on offense, particularly the OL. They are going to lose some veterans by attrition. They can't just wipe the slate completely clean.
Delton Hall: According to Adam Scheffter Polamalu will rework his deal and take a haircut on the salary next year, does this freed up space on the salary cap allow us to go after Jarius Byrd or TJ Ward at Safety?
Jerry Micco: It will allow the Steelers some room to work with signing some of their own players first, but I doubt they'll look at players like Byrd or Ward. Just not what they normally do. I'd love to see them look at both guys seriously, but if they sign either player, then what do you do with Shamarko Thomas? I guess he's Troy's replacement after this year?
The Chief: Jerry, hope all is well. Your thoughts on Worilds getting hit with the transition tag?
Jerry Micco: Things are good, Chief. I thought it was a clever move by the Steelers, enhanced by Worilds actually agreeing to the tag. Gives them time to negotiate long-term with him and to lower that price tag. That way, they aren't bidding against themselves. I think the number as it stands is too high for Worilds, but with Orapko off the market, he might have been the top OLB in free agency and some teams might have put up a number like he has now to get him. Then the Steelers would have been stuck.
The Chief: Jerry, if your Ray Shero, what is the must move you have to make today?
Jerry Micco: The move I must make is not to trade Poulliot or Dumoulin. I know that's really not a move to make, but sometimes when you don't make a move it's best for your franchise. If he can pick up a nice 3rd-line winger for Sutter, I think that would be great. If it costs him a draft pick or a Simon Despres, then that's the price to pay. But the two best young defensemen in your system shouldn't be moved, in my opinion. Of course, Ray Shero knows a lot more than I do about hockey trades.
Jason Thompson: Will Chris mcGuiness make this roster and get and get a shot at playing 1B this year? Obviously NH sees something in him.
Jerry Micco: He'll certainly get a shot, that's why they traded for him. I think he'll get a look as well as Andrew Lambo. I don't think there's any guarantee that Lambo is a lock to platoon with Sanchez at first. As a matter of fact, Clint Hurdle was saying Sanchez may be a full-time player at first. But if McGuiness proves he can hit, then he'll make the club.
JD: Do you see any surprises coming out of spring training this year?
Jerry Micco: I mentioned McGuiness, but I don't think you'll see many surprises. For once, the Pirates are pretty well set with a lineup except for some platoon and utility players. Unless one of the starting pitchers goes down, then you might see some movement.
Guest: Are there any DBs worthy of the 15th overall pick or should they use that on a difference maker at another position and draft dbs in the 2nd-4th rounds?
Jerry Micco: Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State would be worth a shot at No. 15. Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State is probably a bit high at 15, but he's a good CB. If he was there at say, 22 or 23, he'd be worth a shot. But he's not a speed guy. CB is a deep position in the draft, so getting a decent CB in round 2 is very possible.
JD: What are the chances of Simon Despres being traded today?
Jerry Micco: I'd say 50/50 at best.
Jiggs McDonald: MAF looked like, well the MAF of recent years in the Blackhawk snow game. I know he faced a lot of shots but he was in playoff form in that game. How would you like to see Marty Brodeur in a Penguin uniform for the playoffs?
Jerry Micco: If it was Marty Brodeur from a couple years back, yes. I really like Brodeur and think he's the best goalie I've ever seen play, but I'll take my chances with Fleury. I know, I know, we've been down that road before, but last night against Nashville he was very sharp. Let's see how he does Thursday vs. San Jose.
The Chief: Have we seen the last of the NHL at the Winter Olymipics ?
Jerry Micco: I don't think so. I think the players like it too much.
Matt from LA: What happened to Pitt? Is it Dixon? lack of talent? Lack of leadership?
Jerry Micco: I think losing Johnson hurt them more than they realized it would when it happened. They have lost a lot of close games, some to very good teams. And I think that you are seeing a team that really has one very good, but not great, player and no one else who can consistently step up and score. Plus, the point guard can neither score nor penetrate. The team has its moments, but lately seems to lack in one part of their game or another depending on who they are playing.
Matt from LA: Does Pitt make the Big Dance?
Jerry Micco: Going to be tight. The game Saturday at Clemson is huge. The Tigers are good at home, and if Pitt loses, they will be the 6th seed in the tournament. They may win a first-round ACC game, but that may not be enough. I say if that scenario occurs they either will not get in or they will be in a play-in game.
Guest: Does Jamie Dixon's Reputation take a huge hit if this Pitt team doesn't get in the Tournament?
Jerry Micco: A huge hit? No. A dent? Yes. They way they started the season, and not blowing through a cupcake non-conference schedule but being 6-1 in the ACC coming into the Duke game at The Pete, they looked like a team ready to make a statement. They were actually favored in that game. I think losing it the way they did, dominated in the second half, took a lot out of them.
JamesinNYC: Do you think Worilds will get the same dollar figure per year or will they use the we can leave you under the transition tag and see how this year goes and offer less per year with more guaranteed over the course of the contract? What do you think the bonus will be and what do you think the yearly number will be? I hope they don't push too much out and keep cap heck on forever.
Jerry Micco: Hard to say. I think they'll look at contracts differently from now on, perhaps opting to keep salaries relatively the same year over year and maybe going with bigger bonuses. But NFL players now want more guaranteed money, so that may be the kicker. It is the guaranteed money that keeps you in cap hell.
Tom: If you were a player would you ever sign a big contract that pays you 11 mil in your last year or restructure money to push pay back? Reality says you never see it.
Jerry Micco: I think every player knows that, but does it because you are still getting bonus money as part of that and that's up-front money. Plus some of that is guaranteed money.
Jack Splat: Hello, Jerry Do you think the steelers can get Ike for one more year at a reduced salary? His level of play declined last season but are cortez allen or william gay that much bettr than Ike?. I think CB is the biggest need for the team.
Jerry Micco: Taylor is worth $7 against the cap and in the final year of his deal. If he is willing to lower that, say, $3 or 3.5 million, then I'd say the Steelers would sign him. They are so thin at CB that they are going to have to draft at least one, maybe two. I think Cortez Allen is going to get better and Gay provides depth. Taylor can still give them some good play and maybe switch off with a rookie or a free agent pick up.
The Chief: Jerry, do you feel MLB is on a way one path to self destruction with the escalating salaries. Will we ever see a salary cap?
Jerry Micco: MLB keeps making money hand over fist, so I don't see the owners wanting to make any changes right now. Big market teams and rich owners care more about money than anything else, so why upset the apple cart?
DC: What are your thoughts on the proposal for 43 yd. extra points?
Jerry Micco: How about this: Snapper, holder and kicker only on the PAT. Defense can have all 11 guys, but, you draw a line 5 yards deep in the end zone. Still kick from the 10, but the defense can rush unimpeded (can't hit the snapper, holder or kicker) as soon as it's snapped. Mayhem, I tell you. I think the 43 yard thing is silly.
Scott: Do you see the Steelers pass rush improving next season with the emergence of Worilds on the left side and Jones with an offseason in the weight room starting on the right?
Jerry Micco: Jones will have to get better for the rush to get better. And you may see tweaks with the 3-4 like we saw last year with the DEs getting more upfield for the pass rush. Cam Heyward's success last year, I think, was in part because of this tweak. Also don't forget, the Steelers get a lot of pressure from ILBs when they do rush them. Timmons is a very good pass rusher when not in coverage.
Mel Jr: Recent CB's taken high in the 1st round have underwhelmed, see Morris Claiborne, dee Milner. And the Steelers last went there in the 1st Round with Chad Scott I think, 1997? I see the Steelers take another LB Khalil Mack and release Woodley.
Jerry Micco: CBs are tough to find and and develop, so drafting one high is always a risk. But there are many good ones in this draft. I think Mack will be gone by the No. 15 pick. And there are not a lot of good LBs in this draft. One place where it's not as deep as last year.
NaplesDave: Hi Jerry, love the brainstorming going on in these chats. Steelers D needs to pressure QB, stop the run & make D line & D backs look better, so draft LB in 1st round. Thoughts?
Jerry Micco: See above. Just not a great year for LBs in this draft. You may take one on day 3, though, because you need LBs in the 3-4. Watch to see if Larry Foote, who costs just $1.5 mil, can come back to play ILB along with Timmons. If Jones develops and pairs with Worilds, will Chris Carter be the main backup. Maybe then draft an OLB in round 4, or with a comp pick in round 3 (they'll get at least one). You also could see Sean Spence return as well as Vince Williams inside.
The Chief: What's the better Pirate outfield: Skinner,Virdon Clemente; Bonds, VanSlyke, Bonnilla or Marte ,Cutch , Polanco?
Jerry Micco: I'm old enough to have seen the first group play. Clemente one of the best all-around I've ever seen. Mays tops that list for me because of his power. Bonds best hitter I've ever seen. Fastest hands and that's pre HGH. Would have been an HOF guy without the juice. I'm going to go with Bonds/Van Slyke/Bonilla. Defensively, the first group patrolled Forbes Field splendidly. The final group hasn't had a chance to play together, so I really can't say.
Guest: Prognosis for Jeff Locke this season?
Jerry Micco: I think I'd rather see him in the No. 5 spot than Volquez. If he can capture what he did in his first half last year, he can win 10-12 games there. I think we'll see that.
JamesinNYC: Has coach Franklin pulled in an above average haul of early commitments at PSU?
Jerry Micco: No question he's done that. His strength is recruiting, and he's done a terrific job of that so far. But he's not coached a game yet, so his grade as a coach is incomplete.
Rod Rust: Would could we get theoretically if we trade Mike Tomlin to the Brownies? If Harbaugh is worth two #1 picks without a SB I'd think ole MT is worth 3 #1 picks
Jerry Micco: Obviously.
The Chief: Jerry, Tiger Woods is literally falling apart in front of us. Augusta is about a month away. Your expectations on Tiger this year.
Jerry Micco: I'm on record as saying I think Tiger can win a major this year, and I always think the Masters and British are his best tournaments. That said, you wonder why now his body is betraying him? He's always taken care of himself, but he bulked up so fast there a few years back. Was it too much too soon?
Guest: Any chance Steelers trade up in round one to select Justin Gilbert?
Jerry Micco: I think they'd have to move up, but you have to find a partner. Usually in deep drafts, you ideally want to trade down and get more picks. Again, you have to have a partner to do that. Depending on who's at 15, I'd rather see them go down 7 or 8 spots and pick up a 2 and a 4, or get that 3 back they lost in the Thomas trade with Cleveland. I just think they can fill a lot of needs with more picks. But that's very hard to do.
Guest: Why didnt the steelers run that cross fire blitz much this year? It seems to me like that is the blitz that gets inside pressure the best
Jerry Micco: Depends on what the other teams were running. Maybe that blitz would not have worked. And remember, you're running it with a rookie ILB in there, not Larry Foote. One more thing: A good NT eats up at least one guard as well as the center, so there's a gap for the ILB to fire. If the center alone can handle the NT, that blitz is picked up.
JD: Oilers just traded Ales Hemsky to Ottawa. That's one less target available for the Pens. Does this amp up urgency to get Kesler?
Jerry Micco: I mean it might, but Ray Shero isn't going to panic. Again, if the Pens don't do anything, this is a team that has 85 points in the standings. And what I'd really want to see them do is pick up a guy with some grit who can score a little who can play with Brandon Sutter. I think losing Sutter would hurt because he does a lot of things very well.
The Edge: No one talks about Travis Ishikawa at first, but I have a feeling that he may come on and be part of the first base platoon as the left-handed bat as he has played there before with the Giants. Your thoughts?
Jerry Micco: He's been injured, which has given McGuinness an opportunity. I think they'll certainly look at Ishikawa, too. I'm also not convinced Huntington isn't going to look at guys who get cut late in spring training or see if he can swing a deal for a guy like Ike Davis in New York. He's got some time and options.
JD: What was your winter Olympic highlight
Jerry Micco: Wow, so many. I'm a huge Julie Mancuso fan, and seeing her win a bronze medal in the super combined was really cool. Such a wonderful skier and tremendous competitor. Alpine skiing is my favorite winter Olympic sport, so I tend to lean that way. Seeing Lauryn Williams win a medal in bobsled was a real treat and a wonderful moment. A dual medalist in both winter and summer games is a tremendous accomplishment for any athlete, and she's from our area. But there were a lot of terrific moments from Sochi.
Jerry Micco: OK folks, I need to wrap this up. Thanks for all the great questions. The hour flew by. I appreciate you joining me today and taking the time to talk. I'll be back at noon next Wednesday for more, so stop by if you can. Until then, have a terrific week! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco