Free-agent period rather quiet on the South Side
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Shhhhhh, or you will wake the Steelers.
Another day, more silence from the South Side. No free agents visited their UPMC training complex and none is expected the rest of the week. On the other hand, none of their free agents signed elsewhere since Nate Washington fled to Tennessee on Monday.
They did receive a new contract proposal from linebacker James Harrison's agent, who is awaiting their response.
"I sent the Steelers an offer and I'm sure I'll hear back from them," said Bill Parise of Pittsburgh.
His early optimism for a quick resolution when negotiations opened shortly after the Super Bowl to extend Harrison's contract has eased as talks dragged on.
"That happens when this thing hangs on a little bit," Parise said. "You tend to lose that optimism." But, "I'm sure we'll get a contract done at some point."
Harrison, the NFL's defensive player of the year and the team's MVP the past two seasons, has one year left on a contract he signed in 2006 as a backup. He earned $1.2 million in salary last year and his contract calls for a salary of $1.4 million in 2009.
Cornerback Bryant McFadden, the team's only starter who is an unrestricted free agent, has not signed elsewhere and his asking price may be too high, some in the NFL believe. He returned from a visit this week with the Arizona Cardinals, whose plans in free agency came more into focus yesterday when they signed quarterback Kurt Warner to a two-year, $23 million contract.
The Steelers apparently did sign one player, a wide receiver. Although the team did not confirm it, there are reports that practice squad player Martin Nance has been added to their offseason roster.
Also, backup linebacker Keyaron Fox, an important component of their special teams, might be close to returning. An unrestricted free agent, Fox paid them a visit yesterday and said they were working on a deal to bring him back.
First Published March 5, 2009 12:00 am