There usually isn't too many great stories about the Steelers in mid February, but today is different. It was rumored last night, and confirmed this morning, that Casey Hampton was signed to a three-year deal. Sweet.
The three-year deal worth $21.3 million with a $6.5 million signing bonus. Not a bad deal at all for Casey Hampton and to have him finish his career in Pittsburgh. General manager, Kevin Colbert, said that he feels Hampton has a few good years left in him and hopes that this deal makes him retire as a Steeler.
I don't really see how this is a bad deal for the Steelers. Hampton has been nothing short of great for the Steelers and they have him locked up for probably the rest of his football life. It also gives the Steelers the flexibility to go out in the draft and look for a nose tackle so that he can learn and then step in when Casey is done playing.
It has been noted that there is some good depth on the defensive line front, especially the nose position in the 3-4 so look for the Steelers to get one, not in the first round, but probably in the top three rounds.
With Hampton not taking up the franchise tag that left the door open for the Steelers to slap the tag on kicker Jeff Reed. Another great deal. Reed will make $2.6 million with the deal and if another team wants to sign Reed they can, but the Steelers will get two first round picks for them. The Steelers might pull the tag as they pretty much slapped it on him so that they could work out a longer term deal.
I think Jeff wants to be with the Steelers and here is what Colbert has to say about Reed:
"We've been in contact with Jeff and he's aware of the situation, and his agent is aware of the situation," Colbert said. "My goal is to lock Jeff up long term and have him finish his career with the Steelers. He's aware of that and aware that sometimes the process gets to this point where we all need to buy some time."
These two deals are huge for the Steelers. They are two of the three top priorities that the Steelers targeted are signed and under contract for next year and it helps them out for the draft. In signing Hampton it does not mean they have to think about drafing a nose tackle in the first round, they can now go elsewhere with that pick. Jeff Reed has probably been the best kicker in the NFL considering where he kicks. Sure he missed two against the Bears but he only missed like two other kicks the rest of the year, so that is a great sign, even if it is only with the franchise tag for now.
The other of the three priorities is safety Ryan Clark. Clark was not slapped with the transition tag so he will hit free agency, but Colbert said they were in continued talk with Clark and his agent to get a deal done to keep him in Pittsburgh. Sure Clark was not that good this year, but with a healthy Troy with him, he is pretty scary. Troy and Ryan work very well together and it would be good to get him locked up. Even if it is only for two years we can draft a safety guy and work him in and out with Clark and Ryan Mundy to get him ready. This should be interesting.
Colbert was asked about Parker and he said there is still the option to bring him back, but Fast Willie wants to test the market, so that he will do. Would it be nice to have Willie back? Yea, especially how he ended the season, but it has to be at the right price.