The Steelers way works

Love it or hate it, you have to respect it. <br> What am I referring to? The Steelers' way. <br> That same thing that has had fans clamoring for the past month about why the Steelers didn't do this and why they did do that is the same steadiness that has helped this team remain a contender year-in and year out over the past 15 or so years.

Think about it. How many fans were jumping up and down, kicking and screaming because the Steelers didn't make wide receiver Plaxico Burress their franchise player so that they could sign him and trade him? Judging by the responses here at, it had to be about 80 percent.

But judging by what's happened thus far in free agency - and the fact that Burress has yet to sign and looks to being getting low-balled - the Steelers made the right move.

Imagine if the Steelers were stuck with Burress right now, with nobody willing to give up a No. 1 pick for him. That more than $7 million price tag for the franchise value of a wide receiver would have hamstrung the team, rendering it unable to even offer its restricted free agents qualifying offers.

Sure, the Steelers could have eventually pulled the franchise tag off of Burress once they found a soft market for their former No. 1 pick. But again, that's not the Steelers' way. They chose to do business on the up and up.

So instead of Burress and nothing else, the Steelers thus far have re-signed linebacker Larry Foote, placekicker Jeff Reed and cornerback Willie Williams. They have also added free agent wide receiver Cedrick Wilson and stand ready to make a play for tight end Anthony Becht.

Those moves have opened the door for the Steelers to head into the draft next month with an open mind. If a stud defensive end is there waiting for them, he'll be the pick. If it's a running back, so be it. Wide receiver? They wouldn't turn one of those down either.

In fact, about the only positions you can rule out for the Steelers in this year's draft are quarterback, fullback and placekicker. Taking a player at any other position is fair game.

Why? Because they didn't panic and have a knee-jerk reaction to Burress' impending free agency.
  • As for Burress, it looks like the rest of the league pretty much agrees with those who feel the receiver is overrated. Is he a good player? Yes. But a great one? No.

    And as we've seen this offseason with the trade of Randy Moss by Minnesota, some teams aren't even willing to put up with crazy antics from a great player, let alone a good one.

    Don't get me wrong, Burress isn't the problem child many think he is. But he does march to the beat of his own drummer at times.

    Burress will eventually get a deal done, likely with Minnesota, which is looking for a replacement for Moss, even though the Vikings, in my opinion already have a solid No. 1 receiver in Nate Burleson.

    Burress and Giants coach Tom Coughlin just aren't a good fit. If Burress couldn't live with Bill Cowher's lax rules all the time, there's no way he can survive General Coughlin's tactics.

  • Mark Kansas City down for the worse free agent signing of the offseason regardless of whatever else transpires.

    A seven-year contract for Kendrell Bell with $10 million of it in guaranteed money. The deal reportedly averages more than $5 million per year.

    That's an insane amount of money for a player who saw part-time duty in just three games last season and reportedly failed a physical in New York when he visited the Giants.

    When healthy, Bell is an outstanding defensive player, truly special. But he's also proven to be a player who gets nicked up a little more than others.

    The Steelers tired of it, hence their decision to let him go.

    Kansas City will regret that deal, though the current administration will likely retire before the deal really hamstrings the team.

  • One overlooked part of the Steelers signing Wilson is that if they can't work out a new deal with Antwaan Randle El, who is heading into his contract season, Wilson would be a solid replacement next season.

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