From the archives: Troy Polamalu looks for his family in the stands after defeating the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.
Ed Bouchette: Good afternoon, let's begin
Rick: Any chance Troy comes back at a reduced salary?
Ed Bouchette: I really don't think so. I don't think he is in their plans.
Larry: Steelers take a chance on NT Nick Fairlee? Timmons is their best linebacker why not move him to the outside? I know he will get to the QB
Ed Bouchette: They have two nose tackles, they're not looking for a third. Timmons moved to OLB in an emergency and I think that's the only way they would do that again and it would have to be a dire emergency. So don't look for that to happen.
Derek: Do you think Ike and Troy get released today before 4:00?
Ed Bouchette: Ike is a free agent at four, no longer under contract, so they do not have to release him. I'm not sure what timetable they have for Troy. Since they are under the cap, they can hold onto him for a few days if he's still thinking of retiring.
Guest: Ed, when you first started at the PG, did free agency get near the attention from fans and media that it gets now?
Ed Bouchette: When I first started at the PG, there was NO free agency. The only way players became free is if they were cut. A small version of free agency hit in the late '80s, called Plan B, but true free agency in its current form did not arrive until 1993.
Ed Bouchette: And, yes, it was a big deal in 1993 too
WE R NC: Can Moats play the Left side as well (if Jason doesn't come back)?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, he can play both.
Tom: Thanks for the chat Ed. Are the agents of the players leaking these signings even though it isn't supposed to happen until 4PM? If so do you get tipped by agents if the Steelers sign or lose one of their own?
Ed Bouchette: The agents rarely tip off individual team beat writers anymore.
Go Steelers!: Hi Ed, is Worilds really worth 5 to 6 million more a year than Moats? I just don't see it, seems like I can remember more splash plays by Moats than Worilds.
Ed Bouchette: We are about to find out, but I agree that there should not be that kind of disparity between the two.
tj: Why doesn't the league do more to crack down on these contract negotiations that are obviously transpiring before Free Agency begins? I know they say they are going to this year, but you know how the league is. (It is stupid.)
Ed Bouchette: There was a 3-day window that started Saturday that allowed negotiations.
dave: The team said they had conversations with Keisel over the past couple of weeks. What do you think was said in those conversations?
Ed Bouchette: Retire or be released. Perhaps the same discussions they've had with Troy Polamalu.
Scott from Erie: You and your colleagues seem pretty confident that Brice McCain will be resigned. Why so sure? I hear the Vikings are interested as well, and if the Steelers only view him as a backup, I can't see them winning a bidding war for him...kinda reminds me of the Jericho Cotchery situation last year.
Ed Bouchette: You must have me mixed up with others. I never have said he will be signed. I've suggested they should sign him. I have no idea what's going to happen with him.
Scott from Erie: Among the veteran running backs available to the Steelers via free agency, who do you think is the most likely to: 1. Provide a run/pass threat similar to Bell and 2. Be willing to sit on the bench when Bell returns from suspension?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think any of them are in any way a similar threat as Le'Veon Bell. However, I think Reggie Bush fits their bill -- if he doesn't want to break the bank and realizes he may not get the ball much. Those are big IFs
Mike: With signing Boyd is that the end for Landry?
Ed Bouchette: That will be up to Boyd and Landry.
Guest: Derrick Morgan - is he a possibility to join Steelers?
Ed Bouchette: Maybe they can swap free agents with the Titans.
Kevin in Washington PA: Since most OLB are signed to new contracts, do you see the Steelers signing Worilds?
Ed Bouchette: I think Tennessee is going to throw a lot of money at him, and I don't think the Steelers will match it.
dave: Any chance they release Cam Thomas?
Ed Bouchette: Always a chance, but they are thin at DE right now and they can carry him until/if they get someone else.
Craig: Hey Ed, Do you think that the Steelers will look seriously at the nose tackle position early in free agency or wait a little bit and let salaries go down? I was looking at the list and I saw some names that I like but who do you think they might be interested in at the right price?
Ed Bouchette: They have two nose tackles, they are not looking to add anymore.
Jonathan K: For safety help what about a guy like Rahim Moore to be FS and let Shamarko play the slot with Mitchell moving to SS.
Ed Bouchette: no
Salvatoooore: Hello Ed! are you comfortable with Steelers's position prior to the FA period? I know Draft will shape most of the unsettled positions and most of our free agents are about to get signed. Is there any specific concern besides the OLB?
Ed Bouchette: Cornerback, for sure.
Tom: Does Tennesse become Pittsburgh south? Worilds, Ike, Keisel and maybe Troy?
Ed Bouchette: I don't think you will see all of them there, 2 maybe
Scott from Erie: Say the Steelers don't sign a proven starter at outside linebacker in free agency. Should we expect one taken in the first round? Or will corner remain the priority?
Ed Bouchette: You will see them draft one, maybe not in the first round. I also think they will add another veteran and there's James Harrison waiting in the wings.
Tim Nicksick: The Steelers have had trouble finding a big time punter for many years now and gave opposing teams better field position because of it. The Pats have a great kicking game and it helped them again last season. Any chance the Steelers try to find a punter with a draft mid round pick to firm up the position?
Ed Bouchette: I think they want to go with Brad Wing again
Chris: hey ed do you see any chances of them signing a corner or pass rusher that can come in and start or do they go into the draft needed to fill 2 huge voids? Colbert always seems to take his sweet old time hopefully we don't let McCain slip away like cotchery did last year.
Ed Bouchette: I can't see them signing a veteran starting corner unless it's to bring back Brice McCain. They have William Gay, Cortez Allen and they tendered Antwon Blake. Adding McCain and a rookie may do it.
Guest: Regarding FA tampering - Ed, there is clearly reason to believe tampering is happening prior to the legal negotiating period. The league has addressed this in the last few days. However, why don't/haven't they done more?
Ed Bouchette: There has always been tampering, more so than before the 3-day window when teams would somehow come to terms with free agents one minute after midnight. I don't think, deep down, the league really cares or wants to use all its resources to prove it. They have other needs to apply those resources these days.
Ed Bouchette: I'm not sure Spiller sees himself as a backup at this point. That would be a problem.
John S: I know its not the "Steelers way" but doesnt paying Revis make them so much better? The only player making big money is Timmons on defense ( not counting Troy ) why wouldnt they explore signing him?
Ed Bouchette: Because they don't have that kind of cap room and they need a pass rush more.
Jason: What do you think a veteran like Steven Jackson could bring to the Steelers locker room?
Ed Bouchette: They don't need a running back to bring something to their locker room, they need someone on the field. Jackson would be OK if, again, he would understand the role they have in mind for him.
TK: What's the difference between releasing Troy now or after June 1?
Ed Bouchette: If now, they create $3.75 million in cap room for 2015 but he would not count anything against them in 2016. If in June, they would create $6 million in cap room -- but not until June, when most contracts already will be done -- and have to carry $2.25 million against their 2016 cap for him.
The Doc: Ed, How about CJ Spiller of the Bills as #2 back. Would prefer someone with a little experience with suspension looming for Bell. He also a very good kick returner with a couple TD returns.
Ed Bouchette: Sorry, question did not post previously. My answer again: I'm not sure Spiller sees himself as a backup at this point. That would be a problem.
WE R NC: Do you think it will be a fair and open competition in Training camp between Gilbert and Adams at RT?
Ed Bouchette: It's not an open competition. The job is Gilbert's. Doesn't mean he can't lose it and Adams wins it, but there will be no real open job other than in the sense that all jobs are "open.''
Guest: Ed, with all due respect, it sounded like you were defending those teams which negotiate with Free Agents prior to the permitted negotiating period. What gives?
Ed Bouchette: I really do not care. To me, it's not a major problem. I think as soon as the season ends, the negotiations should begin. Then have the same signing period as you do now.
Jason: What is the depth like for the cornerback position in this years draft?
Ed Bouchette: Excellent.
Ed Bouchette: Yes.
Guest: Do you know much about the draft prospects? If not, who on the PG staff can I forward my questions to? Dulac?
Ed Bouchette: That was your yes.
Guest: Brian Orakpo. Too expensive for Steelers? Not a good fit?
Ed Bouchette: Too hurt, too often.
Kevin in Washington PA: With the problems that Cortez Allen had last year, in coverage, do you think he can be "fixed"?
Ed Bouchette: They sure are hoping so because they have plenty riding on it.
denverdog: Ed what do you know about Blanchflower the TE--does he have potential?
Ed Bouchette: Actually, I think he does. He could be their No. 3 this year.
The Doc: If your definitely going to sign/extend Big Ben, which would create cap space, why not do it now and have money available to use now?
Ed Bouchette: Takes two sides to get a deal done. They may just not be there yet.
Ed Bouchette: Thanks for another wonderful chat. See you next Tuesday, although keep in mind it is Lent.
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