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Marvel's last Season in 'Burgh?

Postby thesteelhammer » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:22 pm

Marvel seems to think so.
I'd like to see him extended and returned to RT- let Starks and Colon go - and Draft a real franchise LT in round 1 next year.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_584066.html?source=rss&feed=9

Steelers on brink of losing key player
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, August 21, 2008

The clock may be ticking on Marvel Smith's career in Pittsburgh.
The veteran left tackle said "it's pretty much guaranteed" that he will be playing elsewhere next season if he and the Steelers do not agree on a contract extension before the start of the regular season Sept. 7.

Smith, who protects the blind side of Pro Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, is in the final year of his contract. The Steelers have a policy of not engaging in contract negotiations during the season.

The two sides have not had any substantial talks on a contract extension.


"Everybody who knows Marvel personally is well aware that it's not all about going to the highest bidder," said Ken Zuckerman, Smith's agent. "He doesn't like change and would definitely be open to working out a contract before the season. However, once the regular season starts with no extension in place, he will be forced to enter the free-agent market."
Smith would probably cash in big time if he hit the open market.

The Miami Dolphins gave a five-year, $57.75 million deal -- $30 million is guaranteed -- to left tackle Jake Long, and he hasn't played a down in the NFL.

Long's contract is the richest ever for an offensive lineman.

Smith could get a deal similar to the one Long -- the first overall pick of the 2008 draft -- signed with the Dolphins.

Established left tackles who are still in their primes such as Smith rarely hit the open market. They are almost always re-signed by their teams because of a paucity of quality left tackles in the NFL.

The Steelers historically have been reluctant to give long-term extensions to players that have completed two contract cycles such as Smith. And Smith, who turned 30 earlier this month, missed five games last season because of back problems.

Smith had successful surgery last December, and the operation relieved the 6-foot-5, 321-pounder of a nerve problem that had caused him to lose feeling in his lower right leg at times last season.

"I feel like I've got a new lease on my career," Smith said. "I feel like I've got plenty of good years (left)."

Smith already has given the Steelers plenty of good years.

He started at right tackle as a rookie in 2000 and later made a successful transition to left tackle. Smith made the Pro Bowl in 2005 and is highly regarded at a position that is especially critical to the Steelers given the investment they made in Roethlisberger during the offseason.

"I think he's one of the better tackles, as far as (left) tackles, that I've played against," Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison said of Smith, whom he goes against every day in practice.

If Smith leaves, the Steelers don't appear to have any viable options at left tackle.

Max Starks, who filled in for Smith last season, is also in the final year of his contract, and he conceded last week that it is questionable that he will be with the Steelers next season.

Trai Essex hasn't looked like anything more than a stopgap at left tackle in the three seasons he has played for the Steelers. Rookie Tony Hills, a fourth-round draft pick, is a major project.

The Steelers could keep Smith for one season beyond 2008 by using the franchise tag on the ninth-year veteran.

However, that seems unlikely for a couple of reasons:

• Teams generally use the franchise tag on a player only after they have tried to negotiate a long-term deal, and there have been no serious discussions between the Steelers and Zuckerman on an extension.

• The franchise tag guarantees a player the average of the top five salaries at his position from the previous year, but it is also a risk since it may keep a player on the team against his will.

Asked if he would feel slighted if the Steelers don't offer him an extension before the season opener against the Houston Texans, Smith said, "I can't tell you how I would feel right now because I'm not trying to dwell on it. All I can do is control getting ready for the season, playing the best I can and helping the team win. It's up to them whether or not they want to do anything."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mixed results
Coveted left tackles rarely hit free agency since teams usually re-sign them before they can test the open market. Here are some notable left tackles that signed free-agent contracts elsewhere and how they fared.

• Wayne Gandy: The Saints signed the former Steeler -- 32 at the time -- to a six-year, $30 million contract in March 2003. Gandy played three seasons in New Orleans before the Saints traded him to the Falcons. Atlanta released Gandy after last season.

• John Tait: The former Chief signed a six-year, $33 million deal with the Bears in March 2004. Tait had played left and right tackle for the Chiefs. He played right tackle his first season in Chicago but has since been the Bears' starting left tackle.

• Jonas Jennings: The 49ers gave the former Bill a seven-year, $36 million deal in March 2005. Jennings has been a bit of a flop as injuries and ineffectiveness have plagued him in San Francisco. The 49ers have moved him to right tackle.



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Re: Marvel's last Season in 'Burgh?

Postby Y-Town Steel » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:56 pm

I would think that you extend your not-quite-30 year old LT, who you have no quality replacement for on the roster, before your 33 year old LB who you have solid young depth behind...... right?

I just posted my thoughts on the Farrior signing in that thread. Seems odd to take care of Farrior before Marvel. Maybe the FO feels Marvel's long-term health (ie his back) is going to limit him sooner rather than later................
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Re: Marvel's last Season in 'Burgh?

Postby Y-Town Steel » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:58 pm

My mistake, your just-turned-30 LT
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Re: Marvel's last Season in 'Burgh?

Postby thesteelhammer » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:11 pm

Y-Town Steel wrote:I would think that you extend your not-quite-30 year old LT, who you have no quality replacement for on the roster, before your 33 year old LB who you have solid young depth behind...... right?

I just posted my thoughts on the Farrior signing in that thread. Seems odd to take care of Farrior before Marvel. Maybe the FO feels Marvel's long-term health (ie his back) is going to limit him sooner rather than later................


Can't they take care of them both - maybe even at the same time. Is TWO freeking contracts too much for this organization to negotiate at once?

If so how the heck will they ever negotiate a deal among the FIVE Rooney brothers? :x

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Re: Marvel's last Season in 'Burgh?

Postby Y-Town Steel » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:47 pm

Let's assume the FO doesn't extend Marvel and lets him walk after 2008. Maybe they think Starks can take his LT spot, and that they can sign Max long-term for less $$ than Marvel? I guess that could be the plan. Maybe they think Essex can take over?

Franchise LTs are tough to come by and we have a good one seemingly in his prime who wants to stay and has said it's not all about the $$. Why aren't we signing him?
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Re: Marvel's last Season in 'Burgh?

Postby StillMill » Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:07 am

good thread. Now that we've pissed away millions on a downward arcing ILB, I doubt there'll be any cap money for M. Smith, much less Colon if he has a solid season. Or Essex if he gets a lot of PT.

Thank you Colbert, you dumfuck. :sushootem:

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Re: Marvel's last Season in 'Burgh?

Postby quixotic » Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:59 am

StillMill wrote:good thread. Now that we've pissed away millions on a downward arcing ILB, I doubt there'll be any cap money for M. Smith, much less Colon if he has a solid season. Or Essex if he gets a lot of PT.

Thank you Colbert, you dumfuck. :sushootem:


Hey Mill, weren’t you complaining all last year about how Marvel was tossed around like a rag doll by even mediocre DEs? I’m going by memory, so I might be wrong on this. Marvel may be the ONLY Stiller lineman you ever liked. But if I am remembering right, why would we want to sign a second rate future right tackle for left-tackle-C3 money? Just askin’.

Personally, I think we try to sign him, ’cause there’s nobody better within reach. Too bad we missed getting a LT in the best tackle draft so far this century. But having botched that, we are kind of in a position to resign Marvel or take out good life insurance on Ben (prolly both).

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Re: Marvel's last Season in 'Burgh?

Postby UKBlackNGold » Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:40 pm

[quote="quixotic Too bad we missed getting a LT in the best tackle draft so far this century. But having botched that, we are kind of in a position to resign Marvel or take out good life insurance on Ben (prolly both).[/quote]

Hadn't any one worth taking gone?

Let Smith play, he has every reason to play to his best, . . . unfortunatley like Faneca his best days are almost certainly behind him!

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Re: Marvel's last Season in 'Burgh?

Postby quixotic » Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:14 pm

UKBlackNGold wrote:[quote="quixotic Too bad we missed getting a LT in the best tackle draft so far this century. But having botched that, we are kind of in a position to resign Marvel or take out good life insurance on Ben (prolly both).


Hadn't any one worth taking gone?

Let Smith play, he has every reason to play to his best, . . . unfortunatley like Faneca his best days are almost certainly behind him![/quote]

Yes, of course all the tackles were gone. But weren’t there like six of them? We traded up to get Timmons last year (whom we could have gotten with our regular pick, but that’s another issue). Was there no trade to be made? Surely somebody needed an extra second and Nate Washington or something.

Sure, his best days are behind him. But the point is you don‘t find left tackles on every street corner. And they don’t just come into the league ready to go.

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Re: Marvel's last Season in 'Burgh?

Postby Iron Gut » Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:03 pm

Smith looks healthy so far this year, but dude has had some serious back issues. I would like to extend him for 3-4 years but I think he is expecting 7-8 million per season. The salary cap makes this a difficult signing. Why? Because they pissed away 7 million on a stiff named Starks. If they can get a deal done soon and perhaps get Marvel to take the bulk of the bonus over the next couple years instead of right away, then a deal is still possible in the next 2 weeks. Unfortunately, the dead money tied up Starks is really biting them in the ass.

I also beleive that Kemo is a priority signing while he is still "cheap". He has shown some promise and if they don't lock him up now, then he is going to be pricey come spring.

That said, I like the Farrior signing. He has been productive, is a leader and can be cut with minimal damage to the cap after 2-3 seasons.
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Re: Marvel's last Season in 'Burgh?

Postby indysteel » Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:16 am

Smith is not a franchise tackle. Adequate and acceptable, yes. But he will remind no one of Ogden or Munoz. I say let him go. His back is a bigger issue than probably any of us realize.
IMO -- he played poorly last year.

Marvel is kinda like the fat ugly chick at the bar at 3 AM. Do you take her because she's the only one there? I guess it's better than nothing but, wow, you just never feel right about it.

I agree that we have done poorly in building up potential replacements and that problem is now coming home to roost. This is consistent with my conviction that this team does not have the talent level it once did at several positions.

Don't kid yourself --- I would prepare for a long season.

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Re: Marvel's last Season in 'Burgh?

Postby Nel » Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:41 pm

indysteel wrote:
I agree that we have done poorly in building up potential replacements and that problem is now coming home to roost. This is consistent with my conviction that this team does not have the talent level it once did at several positions.

Don't kid yourself --- I would prepare for a long season.


Teams want to win NOW, particularly when coached by the young, raw, unproven Mike Tomlin.

Teams don't want to build until they drop to a 4-12 season.

Why else does a team like the Stillers draft RB and WR at the top of the draft instead of building the weakening lines? Answer: line building won't win immediately because it is an investment in the future, not the now. We have a great quarterback at $7+ million cap space, let's give him some more scoring weapons, right?! Sheesh.

I see SEVERAL long seasons ahead for the Stillers. :cry:

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