Why no in-season negotiations?
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Q: Do you feel the Steelers handicap themselves with their self-imposed "no contract negotiations after the season starts" policy? Take a player like Marvel Smith; it was hard to gauge what he has left during training camp and preseason, however, if he performs well this season wouldn't it be nice to offer him a contract in December rather than lose him to free agency in March?
Jeff Ross, New Castle
BOUCHETTE: In 1993, the Steelers did negotiate with their players during the season, the first under the current free agency rules. It was a disaster. Players griped and moaned in the locker room as the season progressed and as they received updates from their agents. Steelers management felt it hurt their performance and divided the team. So they came up with their policy after that season and held to it since. There's no reason they could not sign Smith or anyone else after the season, before free agency begins Feb. 27. Even if the Steelers reach the Super Bowl, that would give them at least three weeks to negotiate, which is plenty of time.
First Published September 9, 2008 1:03 pm