Guest: Ed, why on earth would Rooney be willing to give up a home game to play a game in another country? It is a slap in the face to the fans of Pittsburgh. Is it to make more money for himself, to do right by the league and help out with the global expansion, or what the heck is it?
Ed Bouchette: I would suppose the latter. With more games being played out of the country, there will be pressure on teams to give up home games to do so. If the Steelers are willing to do it, then teams such as Dallas, the Giants, Patriots, Redskins, etc., must as well.
Guest: I was watching a movie with Mark Walhberg in it and he tries out for the Eagles. My wife said it was you in one scene as a 70s reporter. I said that is not true. Was that you?
Ed Bouchette: Yes, and I was in 4 scenes in that wonderful movie.
Ed Bouchette: The name of the movie is Invincible and also starred the lovely Elizabeth Banks, although none of my scenes were with her, unfortunately.
Kevin in Punxsy: Why do Tomlin and Colbert respond to reporters' questions about C Allen, as if he is under consideration for playing time?
Ed Bouchette: I read between the lines and it would seem they are saying they just don't have much of a plan for him. As I have said previously, I do not believe he will be a member of the 2016 Steelers.
Guest: Did you get to meet Wahlberg or Elizabeth Banks? Were they nice?
Ed Bouchette: Had photo taken with Marky Mark.
Big City: Ed, don't you think the Steelers management is not ruthless enough? For example, I have to believe that most teams would have cut Timmons. It made complete sense from a cap standpoint, but I get the feeling they avoid making moves like that because they over-value the "family" approach to things.
Ed Bouchette: Whatever the Steelers approach on such matters works for them. Timmons is not finished as a player, so they still want him. They will have to work out perhaps a contract restructure.
Guest: What is with this Bryant/illegal jerseys rumor going around town?
Ed Bouchette: Maybe I don't have my nose to the ground on such things because I have no idea what you are talking about.
Jake in IA: Hi Ed, If you can look into your crystal ball, who's starting in the secondary---the base nickel defense--- in Week 1?
Ed Bouchette: My crystal ball is not that good.
Touchdown Joey: Good day Mr. Bouchette. It seems like, barring any further free agent additions, the Steelers are banking on 3-4 rookies contributing on defense. I don't care how great the draft is, that seems awfully optimistic. That's the approach of a rebuilder, not a contender. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: I would say they are not counting on 2016 rookies to contribute anywhere, at least not at the moment. There are two big opportunities at safety and cornerback in the starting lineup, though, for someone to step in
Guest: In addition to the Baylor day, do you have a sense for what pro days Tomlin and Colbert have attended together or are planning to attend jointly in the coming days?
Ed Bouchette: No, they attend many of them and I don't take attendance. I also put no stock in who they watch or talk to at those things. What some people do not understand is that the Steelers talk to many, many draft prospects, probably 10 times more than they will draft, at least. Some of the material they gather is for the future, so they have the info on a a player if, say, he becomes available in a year or two via trade or otherwise.
Jake in IA: Do you think Cockrell will start at the beginning of the season or a rookie at Corner?
Ed Bouchette: If they draft a rookie in the first round, chances are he could start, but there is so much that has to happen between now and then -- not only draft him, but then him staying healthy (unlike Golson) and him making the move in training camp. Long, long way between now and then.
David: Currently watching the 85 bears 30 for 30, any steelers team you think would give them a run for their money?
Ed Bouchette: I can think of four -- all in the '70s.
Guest: Ed, I'm a big fan of you (not your politics so much) and I've been reading you for years. Do you have any good sports bios you'd recommend? I'm looking for a book for vacation.
Ed Bouchette: Not sure how you would know what my politics are, but grab the one by Gary Pomerantz, Their Life's Work. You won't regret it. Published 2013
Walker M: What do you believe the team will do regarding Jarvis Jones and his 5th year option? What are their options?
Ed Bouchette: I think they will exercise it. It is only guaranteed through injury so if he performs poorly in 2016, they could release him if they wanted to. However, if he had a big season, they'd still have him until 2017 and perhaps could do a long-term deal
Ed Bouchette: To clarify: If they exercise his option, it would be for 2017, so they would have him through that season, unless they decided to release him next year.
TK: Do you think they wanted McLendon back?
Ed Bouchette: Not enough, apparently. The draft is so talented in defensive linemen that maybe they thought it was better to move on and go younger.
Kevin in Punxsy: I hope that Tomlin's infatuation with S Golson isn't similar to his with S Thomas. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: I have not seen enough of CB Senquez Golson to offer much of an opinion. He was a second-round pick, not a fourth like Shamarko, not that that matters.
Guest: What do you mean by you didn't have any scenes with Banks "unfortunately"?
Ed Bouchette: Unfortunately for me, not necessarily for her
JamesinNYC: Considering you have intro music on the NFL network maybe Marky Mark had his picture taken with you?
Ed Bouchette: I'm sure that was it.
Guest: Ed, last week you were saying that you and your kids went to WWF wrestling. Any plans to attend Wrestlemania this year in April?
Ed Bouchette: Those days are gone, my friend.
Alan: Do you think the Steelers view the D line or secondary as needing more upgrades?
Ed Bouchette: Secondary because they have 2 excellent starters out of 3 in their defensive line and the third starter played only 25 percent of the time or so last season.
GSK: Hi Ed, should we read anything in to the Cortez Allen sighting on DWTS last night?
Ed Bouchette: Missed that. I'm surprised a Steelers fan could pick him out.
Jud: Where do we stand with regards to the cap currently?
Ed Bouchette: NFL Players Association has them with $2,629,520 under their top 51 contracts, which is what counts in the off season. Only two teams have less.
Guest: Ed, Ray Fittipaldo seems like he's getting a lot of stories in the paper. Should I read him and can i trust his work on the Steelers? I'm used to you and Gerry, but I don't know much about the Fittipaldo kid. Thanks.
Ed Bouchette: Ray joined our Steelers team two years ago and, yes, you can trust him. He's very talented, very thorough, very accurate. He also can write. Our scouts (me and Gerry) did an excellent job grading him before we signed him on.
GSK: Hi Ed, based on Art Rooney II's comments concerning the secondary are you surprised that the Steelers did not sign a starter capable DB in free agency?
Ed Bouchette: I thought they would look at some possible starters at safety, not surprised they did not find one at cornerback.
Jud: Are we stocked on the OLine with backups? Wallace, Adams, V...they normally go into the season with 8 correct?
Ed Bouchette: I think they're in good shape, but they could still draft one or 2.
Rob: If Cortez Allen is not willing to take a pay cut what is the latest the Steelers could release him to save money against the cap?
Ed Bouchette: Anytime before the start of the regular season.
Guest: Ed, in case you missed it earlier, I would like to propose to my girlfriend during the Draft right after the Steelers pick at #25. The only issue is that I have no idea approximately what time that will be in the evening. I know it is a bit off, but I want to inform my family so they can be there. Any clue what time pick #25 might roll around? Thank you
Ed Bouchette: For the future of your coupleness, why not just take her somewhere nice and private, like a proposal on the scoreboard in the fall. It worked for Chuck Lanza.
Leon: What happens with Timmons? Why do players let teams re-do their deals if they're going to be considered cap casualties later down the line as a result?
Ed Bouchette: The restructuring of Lawrence Timmons' contract through the years would have no baring on what they might do now or in the future. His cap is over $15 million but that's not the issue of what they might do this year. The issue is his salary, which is over $8 million. They still might just let it ride, but because of the high salary, they can restructure and he does not lose money. Of course, since it is his final season under contract, they would have to extend the deal
Jud: Colbert indicated that they might not be done in free agency? Who else do you think they might target?
Ed Bouchette: I still think there are safeties to be had.
Jimbo: Do you think there any assistant coaches on the "hot" seat this year?
Ed Bouchette: Not really.
Kevin in Punxsy: I've seen comments, here and there, about the Steelers taking a NT from Arkansas named Billings in the first round if still there at 25. Thoughts?
Ed Bouchette: Andrew Billings -- of Baylor, not Arkansas -- is indeed rating a first-round defensive tackle. However, the Steelers would not draft him in the first round with the intent of playing him at nose tackle, which they use less and less often. Look for a 4-3 team to take him.
Guest: What happens if Heyward or Tuitt get injured next year?
Ed Bouchette: Someone else will have to play defensive end. Who that might be right now, we have no idea. But there are 5 1/2 months before they kick off for real, so they'll probably find someone.
Terry Hanratty: I read that the steelers have not redone Timmons contract nor accelerated Ben's and Cameron's contracts. Aren't they way over the cap now? Will they be docked draft picks or is there a grace period to get that cap space available?
Ed Bouchette: I wrote here earlier they have $2 M plus left in cap room. They can pick up more by releasing Cortez Allen and signing David DeCastro long-term. After that, they would have to restructure if they need room. -- or borrow against next year's cap.
Ed Bouchette: Thank you for another great chat. I have off next week, so we'll pick this back up on the first Tuesday in April.
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