Sunday, February 22, 2009

Steelers likely to lose McFadden

Steelers fans can expect the team to lose UFA cornerback Bryant McFadden soon after the free agent signing period begins at the end of the month. It's a shame, because McFadden is a quality, albeit somewhat underappreciated player.

Certainly, one can argue that the Steelers should have signed him to a long-term extension prior to last season. Now he'll be far too expensive to keep, especially in light of the obscene deal the Oakland Raiders bestowed upon CB Nnamdi Asomugha, which inevitably will dramatically increase the amount of money needed to sign corners in free agency.

Of course, it seems Pittsburgh frequently ends up in this situation in regards to its second-round picks. In 1993 the Steelers drafted LB Chad Brown in the second round (#44 overall) and signed him to a four-year contract; after his contract expired he signed with Seattle. In 2001 the Steelers selected LB Kendrell Bell in round two (#39 overall); after four seasons Bell left for Kansas City. And in 2002 Pittsburgh drafted WR Antwaan Randle El in the second round (#62 overall) ; when his four-year contract expired, Mr. Randle El went to Washington. Soon McFadden (selected #62 overall in 2005), will be added to that list. And like Brown, Bell, and Randle El, another team will offer more than he is worth.

Of course, it's the four-year rookie contract that is the problem, as it leaves the player little incentive to come to the bargaining table before testing unrestricted free agency. Yet, for the longest time the Steelers have signed their second-rounders to four-year contracts, even though it has repeatedly come back to bite them. And it could happen again in just a couple more years, when the rookie contract of LaMarr Woodley (2007) runs its course. Hopefully, the Steelers won't sign this year's second-rounder (assuming they select a player in round two) to a four-year deal, but that's probably exactly what will happen.


Blogger SteelerChick said...

The Rooney method of developing players through the draft has worked for years. I hated to see Randle El leave the team and I hate to see Bryant McFadden go, but I have faith that Colbert and the Rooneys will make the right decisions--like getting James Harrison a payday like Hines, Troy and Ben.

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