Steelers Notebook: Steelers get 3 compensatory draft picks
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- The NFL rewarded the Steelers with three of the top eight compensatory draft picks handed out to teams yesterday for losing players in free agency a year ago.
The Steelers received two fourth-round picks and a fifth-round selection among the 32 extra picks the league issued. Their two fourth-round picks are the 131st and 133rd overall in the draft and their fifth-round pick is 167th overall. That gives them 10 picks in the April 29-30 draft, including seven original choices (one in each round). They have not had that many draft picks since 1999, when they drafted 11 players. They may not keep that many by the time the draft rolls around.
"That's what's good," coach Bill Cowher said. "You get those picks, get some extra picks, maybe move a little bit in the draft or stay and get some good quality players."
The Steelers received no compensatory picks in 2005.
Compensatory picks are based on a formula that considers free agents lost and signed, the contract sizes each received and their performances in the 2005 season. The Steelers lost Kendrell Bell, Plaxico Burress, Oliver Ross and Keydrick Vincent in free agency. They signed only Cedrick Wilson.
The Steelers signed their last of 12 unrestricted free agents when wide receiver Quincy Morgan came to terms on a one-year deal for $585,000 with a $40,000 signing bonus. He will count $465,000 against their salary cap.
Morgan, who joined the Steelers the first week of last season after he was released by Dallas, will compete again to become their No. 4 receiver and return kicks.
The team also announced it signed defensive lineman Shaun Nua, a rookie last season whose contract expired but who could not sign elsewhere. The Steelers signed nine unrestricted free agents and lost three.
Morgan had nine catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns last season. He returned 23 kickoffs for a 25.3-yard average, fifth in the AFC. Morgan was placed on the reserved/injured list on Jan. 10 after his ankle was injured on a kick return in the playoff game at Cincinnati.
Nua (6 feet 5, 280 pounds) was a seventh-round draft choice promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster Nov. 23. He did not play in a game.
Verron Haynes' two-year contract agreement is worth $1.75 million with a $315,000 signing bonus.
Cowher, on the prospect of opening the season against the Miami Dolphins Sept. 7 in Heinz Field:
"I think it's great. When you look at teams, Miami, the way they finished last year, may have been the hottest team that didn't make the playoffs.
"The way Nick Saban brought that team together, now he'll be in his second year and they've made a lot of very good acquisitions in the offseason. They have a great running back and now they have a big-time quarterback and they always play great defense. It'll be a big challenge for our football team."
The Denver Broncos, the Steelers' AFC championship game opponent, asked not to be scheduled for the kickoff game in Heinz Field.
Dan Rooney has proposed a rule that would prevent teams from making fans buy tickets to other games if they want to purchase one for a specific high-profile contest.
It is an obvious attempt to stop Steelers opponents on the road from forcing the team's fans to buy tickets to other games if they want to purchase a ticket to the game against the Steelers. The Bengals and Chargers were among those teams on the Steelers' schedule last year who had those policies. The proposal is given little chance of passing.Peter Diana, Post-Gazette
The Steelers signed wide receiver Quincy Morgan, the last of their unrestricted free agents, to a one-year deal.
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First Published March 28, 2006 12:00 am