Saturday, March 10, 2007

Steelers Should Wait-and-See With Faneca, Polamalu

As most Steelers' fans know, both G Alan Faneca and S Troy Polamalu have just one year remaining on their respective contracts. Most likely this will be Faneca's last year with the team. While the organization and its fans would no doubt like to see Faneca finish his career with the Steelers, his contract demands may preclude that possibility. If Faneca is looking for $8 million a year or so(!) and an eight-figure signing bonus, that would be a non-starter; it's simply too much salary cap space to commit to a guard, especially one who is on the downside of his career.

As for Polamalu--at The Steelyard we refer to him as "Pu," as in Winnie the Pooh--the Steelers will almost certainly take a wait-and-see approach. If it's true that Pu's agent is asking for more money than the Baltimore Ravens are paying Ed Reed--well, that would be a problem. First, Reed is a better and more consistent player. Sure, Polamalu makes more than his share of spectacular plays, but he's also prone to major mistakes and costly penalties. Another factor is whether new head coach Mike Tomlin plans to transition to a cover 2 scheme, which would seem ill-suited to Polamalu's strengths and might further expose his weaknesses. Finally, if the Steelers want to retain Pu beyond this season, they don't necessarily have to give him a long-term contract. The team could designate him as its "franchise player" and pay him the average of the top 5 safeties in the league. That would amount to less money than Reed earns, and would probably be manageable under the salary cap, as safeties are not valued as highly as most other position players.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that Polamalu only wants one dollar more than Ed Reed, as a statement - he could earn a heck of a lot more on the open market.

And he's worth the money. I expect him to thrive under Tomlin. Tomlin has stated that he sees Troy as one of three players (along with Faneca and Casey Hampton) who "defy scheme." Tomlin ran a blitz-heavy Cover 2 variant in Minnesota, and it sounds like he plans on doing the same in Pittsburgh.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

compared to Troy Ed Reed hits like a girl, IMHO

3:27 PM  

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