Q: Ed, with the re-signing of James Farrior do you think it is likely we re-sign Marvel Smith? If we don't sign Marvel don't you think it is risky of the Steelers to replace him with someone who might not be as good, especially because he is the person who protects Ben's blind side?
Dino Kadri, Windsor, Ontario
BOUCHETTE: I do not think they will sign Smith to an extension before the season begins. I also did not think they would sign Farrior, which was done quickly and quietly and after they expressed little interest in doing so. If Smith does not sign before the season and has a healthy 2008, I believe he will leave as a free agent. Who replaces him? It leaves either Max Starks or Trai Essex, who also can be free after the season, or rookie Tony Hills, who has been a disappointment. Otherwise, they'll have to find a free agent or a 2009 rookie to fill the spot, and good luck with that.