Saturday, February 18, 2006

Steelers' free agents: Part III (Unrestricted FA's, offense)

The Steelers would like to keep WR/PR Antwaan Randle El but only at a reasonable price. To be sure, Randle El excels at passing the ball on trick plays and he's an excellent punt returner, but as a receiver he's nothing more than "a #3" (and the Steelers have a third receiver in Cedrick Wilson). The team will miss Randle El's big plays, but they won't miss the turnovers that result from his lack of size/height and average hands.

Meanwhile, the team is likely to make a serious effort to re-sign QB Charlie Batch. It's imperative that the Steelers employ a capable veteran backup as Ben Roethlisberger has proven to be injury prone (in spite of his size and youth). If Batch is retained the club may trade or cut former starter Tommy Maddox and draft a developmental prospect.

RB Verron Haynes has long been a good fit as a third-down back and warrants an offer.

Don't expect TE Jerame Tuman to be back. Last year's first-round pick Heath Miller has already established himself as the starting tight end, a job he should hold for years to come. Tuman figures to sign with a team that can offer him more playing time.

If the price is right the Steelers will re-sign WR Quincy Morgan to be the fourth receiver.

Finally, OT Barrett Brooks will most likely be replaced by a rookie draft choice as the Steelers attempt to upgrade their depth at offensive tackle.


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