If the Steelers can sign just one unrestricted free agent, who should it be?
Mike Wallace (14%)
Rashard Mendenhall (0%)
Keenan Lewis (86%)
Ramon Foster (0%)
Max Starks (0%)
Larry Foote (0%)
Jerry Micco: Hello everyone and welcome to the weekly all-
Guest: who is the next steeler to sign the dotted line
Jerry Micco: Looks like it'll be Harrison if they can swing a deal to knock his cap number down to a workable amount. If not, then we'll see if the can work something out with Woodley to re-do his deal. I've not be in favor of keeping Harrison, but the Steelers seem willing to work hard to try. Talk seems to be he has one more good year left. I guess we'll see.
James: Harrison negotiations will hinge on what Harrison thinks he can get on the outside market. What are your thoughts on what he can get on the outside? 1yr? 2yr?
Jerry Micco: He can probably get $4-5 million on a one year, but less on a 2-year. If the Steelers release him, most teams will offer him a cap-friendly 2 year deal with much of it in a bonus. The Steelers can extend him for an additional 2 years and the cap hit is smaller if they do that.
The Chief: Aloha Jerry, been on vacation. I just wanted to make sure that if you develop a toothache halfway throught the chat will you shut it down. All kidding aside your thoughts on McIlroy's actions.
Jerry Micco: Well, so far my teeth are OK, but my dentist always seems to find something when she's searching around in there. And I'm guessing your trip was to Hawaii? Lucky guy. I think McIlroy is going through a tough stretch here and he's not used to that. And he shouldn't have pulled out of the Honda Classic, which he said yesterday. He's got a big fanbase and gold needs its young stars, of which he's the brightest. Sometimes you go through this and you need to fight your way through. He needs to do that.
Ken: Can MLB ever do anything right? The WBC during March is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen.
Jerry Micco: I cannot, and have never, cared about the WBC. And to me, it just interrupts the flow of spring training. For instance, the Pirates' Gerrit Cole pitches against Spain yesterday and has a very good outing. OK, does that mean he's got to be considered for a spot in the rotation, or is this just work for him against what amounts to a minor league team? I see no value in the WBC, but then I'm not a businessman.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, who do you like the Steelers to draft? Some people are predicting that they will draft Kenny Vaccaro?
Jerry Micco: I have always liked Vaccaro and think he'd be a very nice pickup at 17. Chances are he'll be available. But he won't play right away, as Clark and Polamalu still have a year or two left in them. But he can be groomed. The question is, do you draft a guy who you need to groom, or do you want immediate impact from a No. 1 pick?
Gary@NorthernVirginia: In the 70's Duquesne had a viable program, actually better than Pitt. Do you see the Dukes ever becoming a winning program again, or have those days gone for good?
Jerry Micco: I think Jim Ferry has a tough haul in front of him. Ron Everhart won games there on a regular basis, but could never get the team to the NCAA level. I think that is what's facing Duquesne. They are in a very good mid-major conference and it's tough to get better when the teams in your league are already much better. I'd like to see the Dukes get more competitive. Pitt and Duquesne being successful together would be great for Pittsburgh basketball.
Guest: When will the Steelers redo Woodley?
Jerry Micco: I thought that would be done by now, but I guess they are going to see what happens with Harrison first.
James_Pittsburgh: Do the Steelers take Cordarrelle Patterson if he is available with the 17th pick?
Jerry Micco: I think that Allen, the WR from Cal, is a better player and Patterson did not have a good combine. I'd not take a WR on round 1. They have other needs that will have more impact players available then than WR.
Bruno: If the Steelers decline continues, who is more to blame Colbert for drafting many early round busts or Tomlin for not developing them?
Jerry Micco: A little bit of both, as well as putting some of that on the player. The draft is always a gamble. You never know what you'll get. Can you blame Colbert for all the guys being injured this year? His Nos. 1, 2 and 3 all go down with injuries. Can't blame him for that. I believe in shared success as well as shared failure.
Andrew: Jerry, what did you draw from Garrett Cole's few innings of work in their game against the Spanish WBC team?
Jerry Micco: As I said earlier, I don't know that you can draw much. He got his work in, and he'll be evaluated on that. But as well as he pitches in Florida, I doubt he starts on the big club. And it may not be economics alone dictating that, as the Pirates are usually accused of doing.
Bruno: Of all the misses in the draft, the Steelers hit a Home Run with Mike Wallace, why would you let him walk away over a few million dollars when big play WR's are hard to find?
Jerry Micco: I think because Wallace isn't an elite WR and he wants that type of pay. And he won't get that here. I would not pay him in the Larry Fitzgerald, Vincent Jackson, Andre and Calvin Johnson range. He's not as good as those guys.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, lets get rid of the WBC and instead play a true World Series between the Major League champion and the Japanese champ. I don't know how to handle the games in Japan, but the ones in the US could be played in the south.
Jerry Micco: Japan has domed stadiums, so there's that. I think the World Series, even if it really isn't the world's series, is fine the way it is. I just don't see the U.S. winner ever losing that Japan-US series.
Gary@NorthernVirginia: With William Gay back on board, how likely is it that they keep Keenan Lewis?
Jerry Micco: I think if they can get the right price, they'll keep him. Gay gives them valuable depth at CB. And remember, Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown are still on the team and have shown they can play. They are where Lewis was a couple of years ago. Also, Ike Taylor is in his 30s and can't play forever. I always say you can't have enough corners. Bottom line, I think Lewis should be Job One for the Steelers to sign.
Renee Stennet: Anthony Rendon for the Nats looks like a young Superstar, why did the Pirates pass on drafting him?
Jerry Micco: Two reasons: Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Cole. Why draft Rendon, who had some injury issues, when you have a potential 35/110 guy playing 3B for you? Alvarez proved last year that he has they type of power. And Cole is a power pitcher who can hit 98 late in games. Can't ever pass on those guys.
DK: Jerry--I heard Mike Lange the other night (replays only from goals and keys stops). I no longer live in the area, therefore, only watch Pens on Root. I have to say, listening to his call from Monday reminded me of what a brilliant hockey announcer he is still is. What really happened with his TV firing and do you think he has a chance to see Pens TV ever again?
Jerry Micco: I'm not really sure why the Penguins and ROOT made the switch, and I won't speculate on it. As for him going back on TV? You never say never, but I don't think that'll happen.
The Chief: Like the Beau Bennet move to skate on the Malkin line, I assume he is there until he loses the spot or the Penguins make a trade at the deadline.
Jerry Micco: If Dan Bylsma leaves him alone, we can get a better look at him. Bylsma seems to want to change up lines so often that any new player gets whipsawed around and you never get a feel for him. Now he promises Bennett will "play all 3 periods" on the second line. Notice he didn't say he's there for good. I'd like to see Bennett play on that line and stick. I think he's a great passer and gets open for shots. And when people talk about the Pens needing to make that big trade, it's Bennett that other teams would love to get in a deal.
Gary@NorthernVirginia: I'm not a Nutting hater, and I expect you've met and talked with him. Do you think he really believes the Pirates can win a World Series, or he's just hoping to field a consistent contender?
Jerry Micco: I have met and talked to Bob Nutting, as recently as a month ago at Dapper Dan. I think he thinks the Bucs can win a World Series. But he thinks they need to do it within the economic parameters they have set up. That doesn't mean he's cheap, but it does mean that he's not going to throw large money at free agents. Draft and develop is his motto. And teams have won championships that way. But first, they need to have a winning season. That will do a lot to quiet the well-deserved criticism the club gets from it's fans.
Will: Is it Wallace and Keenan Lewis who grew up with each other in the New Orleans area? Anyway, do you think it's possible that the team is a little fed up with the "I've got to take care of my family"/money first attitude, and that leads to their willingness to part with Lewis?
Jerry Micco: Yes, they were friends in New Orleans. As for part 2, I'd hope the Steelers aren't naive enough to think that a player saying that is cause not to sign him. I think that's on any player's mind that they want the most money they can get for their services. I think that's just human nature.
The Chief: With all this "restructuring" of NFL contracts due to the cap, are we approaching a day when most of a team is playing for the league minimum as contracts are pushed further into the future?
Jerry Micco: It does have a heavy impact down the road, no question, but teams are hoping that the cap will keep going up so they can still re-do deals. But you are right, at some point it gets so teams can't really negotiate bad deals away, but will have to cut guys and eat their pro-rated bonuses.
James_Pittsburgh: With all the holes, do the Steelers break from tradition and try to sign a stop gap at running back. I would say draft and impact linebacker in the first round and receiver in the second round.
Jerry Micco: You can always find RBs who are free agents. But the bigger question is, what are the roles for Dwyer and Redman? If they are indeed back ups, then one of them isn't going to get much playing time because they are kind of the same player. I think the Steelers will draft a RB at some point. Won't be in round 1, though.
The Chief: Does the Catholic 7 eventually get the Big East Name or will the Football side of the Big East cling on until the bitter end?
Jerry Micco: We had a story today that said it was pretty much a done deal that the Catholic 7 would get the Big East name and play their tournament at Madison Square Garden.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, I am not so sure about that the US winner would win a Japan-U.S. series all the time.
Jerry Micco: Well not all the time, but I'd be that they'd win the majority. Otherwise, why would star Japanese players come here to play? Many do because it's the best baseball in the world. Of course, the US could lose its share of those games, but it would be the minority of times.
Andrew: Who are some likely RBs that the Steelers could target if they choose to draft a RB this April?
Jerry Micco: Eddie Lacy of Alabama is the top guy they'd look at and he may be there in round 2. Giovanni Bernard of North Carolina; Stepfan Taylor of Stanford and Montee Ball of Wisconsin. Most of those guys are 2-3 round guys. Some even round 4 types.
Gary@NorthernVirginia: Which do you think more likely for Polamalu? Excellent comeback year, or slow decline? I believe the former.
Jerry Micco: I think if he can stay healthy, he can have a very productive season. But that's a big IF. I'm not sure where I come down on this. He looks great as the season starts, but then an injury jumps up and down he goes for half a season. It's why Kenny Vaccaro is probably high on their board.
Scott: A couple of mocks have the Steelers selecting DE Damontre Moore at 17, but he had a poor combine and only seems to be maybe the 3rd or 4th best player at his position. Would you be surprised to see the Steelers select a player that far down the list? That seems so un Steelers like.
Jerry Micco: Moore plummeted at the Combine as you stated. I think the Steelers like Jarvis Jones of Georgia as a more effective pass rusher on the outside. But we're also hearing that inside linebacker may be where they head in round 1. Minter of LSU is likely best available at No. 17.
Guest: Wallace to the Saints, New England or Denver - He will be a standout in the NFL with a qb that as time to stand in the pocket and can hit him on the run
Jerry Micco: As long as the only routes he has to run are "up" patterns. Guy is still a mediocre route runner and his hands are in the same category. But you are probably right and teams will pay for that elite speed.
Andrew: Any idea where and when Tyrann (aka: honey badger) Mathieu will end up in the draft? The guy obviously has some issues, but I loved watching him compete at LSU.
Jerry Micco: I think he's a 6-7 round pick or a free agent. Word is he's got a lot of coaching up ahead of him in the NFL.
Phil: Do you think the Steelers, more than other teams, try to honor their original agreements, rather than releasing a player like Harrison. After all, I think a loyalty factor would be important--it's not like we have the best weather in the league.
Jerry Micco: I think they also don't like to eat the bonuses for guys if they don't have to do it. And they must firmly believe that Harrison has that one good season left in him. I don't see Harrison every day, so I can't say that isn't the case, but since I have the luxury of not having my job depending on whether or not he stays, I say cut him and draft an OLB.
ross: Regarding your poll. My choice would be Foote. Solely by need and attitude. Your thoughts?
Jerry Micco: Feel free to put that vote in, by the way. And I'm stunned Starks isn't getting some love. All he does is play solid LT and rarely gives up a sack. But if I had to pick one, it'd be Keenan Lewis.
Gary@NorthernVirginia: It seems Ray Graham had a poor combine. Is it looking like Pitt may have no one drafted this year?
Jerry Micco: Graham and Pitt are having their pro day today. I think the possibility exists that they won't have a player drafted, but I'd be surprised if that happened. I think they are all Day 3 guys, but a couple, including Graham, could be 6-7 round guys. And certainly free agents.
James_Pittsburgh: Jerry, I could be wrong, but I think japanese players come to the US because MLB pays more.
Jerry Micco: They certainly do, that's true. But I also think the overall quality of competition is better.
The Chief: Are you surprised that the NHL did not address realignment in its recent contract negotiations ? Why not a simple swap of the BlueJackets and Jets; then have the East conference play one West divison home/home every year (like NFL). Play the other East divions teams four time and their own divison 8 times. That adds up to 82 and cuts down on travel!
Jerry Micco: I think the NHL will get at realignment after this season. The players will agree to what the league does. Models I've seen have 16 teams in the East and 14 in the West, with Columbus and Detroit going east and Winnipeg to the west.
Ken: Great news about ESPN getting some competition from FOX. Do you think they'll be a good alternative to what ESPN has become--over- commercialized, smug, always chasing the hype (LeBron, Tiger, Tebow, the Jets).
Jerry Micco: Fox will need a couple of things to happen. First, they will need to get the NBA away from ESPN. Second, they need something to match SportsCenter, which will not be easy. Nor, of course, will getting the NBA deal. But Fox has money from its wealthy benefactor. Also, ESPN is getting nipped at a bit by CBSSports Network and NBC Sports Network. Fox, though, is their major threat.
Chunkles: Jerry, I know, coaches coach and players play but really, if Disco doesnt get his team deep in the playoffs this year, to me it says that the players are tuned out and they will have to make a change, next season.I like Dan but it seems that the team has their heads in the clouds too many times? Maybe they need a new voice in their ears? Too much talent for them not to be raising the cup again.
Jerry Micco: Perhaps so, but as many times as hockey changes coaches, it seems odd that any of them are successful. That said, if the team is so talented, does it really matter who coaches them? I thought Therrien was a great coach here, but they tuned him out, hired Bylsma, then won a Cup that same year. I think when you have Malkin and Crosby as your core, you should be a contender most every year.
LA Matt: Any predictions on Pitt's seed and how far they will get in the real tournament?
Jerry Micco: I'm seeing a No. 6 being where they'll be seeded. I see them winning one game and then probably losing a second game. That said, it's hard to judge that without seeing the matchup. It would not surprise me to see Pitt make the Sweet 16. I think the tournament, much like the college basketball season, is wide open.
LA Matt: If they allow the "Catholic 7" to start up the new Big East next year, what does that do to Louisville?
Jerry Micco: Probably gets them to the ACC faster, but I'm not sure.
Gary@NorthernVirginia: Have you heard anything about Greg Romeus who's been injured for the past two years with the Saints?
Jerry Micco: No I haven't. But it sounds like something we could look into.
LA Matt: Are you saddened by the end of the Big East as we knew it? Best memory of it..football and basketball?
Jerry Micco: I don't think saddened is the word. It's college sports and this is what the trend is. I have 2 from Pitt. I was at the Pete when they KO'd #1 UConn by, I think, 70-60 in 2009. Great game, great atmosphere at one of the best venues for all of college hoops. Football was not a Pitt win, though 13-9 was one heck of a game. I remember Cincinnati's 45-44 win at Heinz in front of a packed house that essentially cost Pitt a shot at the BCS bowl. Tremendous game. Poor kid from Pitt fumbled the snap on a PAT and they lost.
The Chief: Lots of talk on the DH coming to the NL, especially with interleague play everyday of the season beginning this year. Your thoughts.
Jerry Micco: I really do not like the DH. Ugh.
Clark: Olympics in Pittsburgh? Any chance?
Jerry Micco: I'll give you the same answer the great Ed Bouchette gave a guy on Twitter today when he asked Ed if the Steelers would try to sign Wes Welker and Reggie Bush. Ed's answer (and mine): Blutarsky, 0.0.
Phil: The US-Japan/WBC talk has me recalling some really good international competitions. Remember the Canada-USSR hockey series during the cold war. And I remember the Broad Street Bullies beating the Russian Army at the Spectrum one year. That was a big deal.
Jerry Micco: Those were great games, but likely are the last of their type, especially in hockey. Since so many Europeans and Russians now play in the NHL, it's put the focus of the game back in North America. Hard to root against the "bad guys" when one of them might be Geno Malkin.
Jerry Micco: OK folks, I need to head back to some other stuff. Thanks so much for taking the time to join me today. Great questions and that was a fast hour. Remember, I'm here every Wednesday at noon so if you can drop by, please do so. Until then, have a terrific weekend everybody! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco
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