Monday, March 11, 2013

Steelers Sign Dwyer and Foster, Addresses Tender and Need

Adam Schefter tweeted this Monday night, but I don't know if I'd refer to it as an upset. Some Pittsburgh Steelers fans might, but the Pittsburgh Steelers running back, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent on Tuesday, avoided any such issues and signed his one-year tender Monday night. Instead of being all about money like Mike Wallace, he decided to listen to Antonio Brown and prove he can be a team player. Well, that and he wasn't going to have many options. Realistically, the Steelers were probably his best option.

Dwyer took part in 13 games last season and made six starts along. He carried the ball 156 times for 623 yards and two touchdowns.

He wasn't the only signing of the day as Ramon Foster agreed Tuesday to a three-year contract with the Steelers. Foster, a better run blocker than pass blocker, could've become an unrestricted free agent Tuesday, but was cajoled into staying. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though it can probably be assumed that it's for around $6-7 million. Maybe $550,000-$700,000 this year with $2 million signing bonus.

This most likely spells doom for Willie Colon whose Salary Cap hit is $1.2 million. If they wait until June 1 they save roughly $5 million. The Steelers could designate Colon a June 1st cut now so that he could sign somewhere else, but no Cap advantage is gained.

David Todd of ESPN 970 tweeted from his personal Twitter (@DavidMTodd) account a salient point shortly after the news came through regarding the matter of waiting: "KEY POINT: #Steelers have created cap room. If put June 1 designation on Colon, pushes $4M of dead money into '14. Can't see that happening."

Neither can I. I'd be surprised if Colon isn't cut tomorrow. If the Steelers do release him now, that and the James Harrison release, subtracting these signings, should create about $4 million in Cap space.

Will the free agent tenders affect what further may be done? Like, for instance, the possible signing of free agent running back Steven Jackson. No, it won't because THEY WON'T SIGN HIM.

Jackson is on the wrong side of 30, he'll want a longer multi-year deal than the Steelers are prepared to give, and he'll want much more than they'll be able to offer. So don't ask.

Here, though, is a recap of the Steelers' restricted free agents:

RB Jonathan Dwyer: Original round - now signed
P Jeremy Kapinos: No tender
NT Steve McLendon: Right of first refusal (no compensation, which is surprising)
RB Isaac Redman: Right of first refusal (no compensation)
LB Stevenson Sylvester: No tender - letting him dangle and test free agency
WR Emmanuel Sanders: Original round (third round - mainly because foot issues slowed progress, will need to prove himself)