What's Next With The Steelers

Free agent departures becoming a strong possibility. Could an old name return and what's up Holmes?

Despite negotiations which occurred as recently as this past weekend, the Steelers and backup cornerback Deshea Townsend remain far apart on a contract agreement, The Insiders has learned.
Townsend's agent, Allan Wade, told The Insiders late yesterday that the two sides had "made a little progress" but are not close to striking a deal.
"[Pittsburgh] made an offer that wasn't even remotely adequate," Wade said. "Still, we're going to make every effort to try and work this thing out.  Deshea really likes Pittsburgh and wants it to work out there."
One of the main sticking points, according to Wade, is the amount of the signing bonus being offered by the Steelers.  While Wade would not give the specific dollar amount offered, a league source tells The Insiders that it's well below $300,000.
Additionally, the structure of the contract is causing a hitch in the negotiating giddy-up.  Wade would like his client to receive a deal that would include provisions in case Townsend would unexpectedly become the starter in Pittsburgh, while the Steelers, for whatever reason, are shying away from that proposed structure.
With talks at an impasse for a multitude of reasons, Townsend will now look at other teams interested in his services.
"We made an agreement [with the Steelers] that Deshea would test the market and they would look at the other corners out there as well," Wade said.  "We'd did tell them that we would give them a shot to look at any offer we received, give them a chance to match."
Wade said that the Texans, Falcons, Broncos, Panthers and Saints had all expressed an interest in his client.  As of last night, however, there are no visits scheduled.

A BLAST FROM THE PAST: Former Steelers defensive back Rod Woodson would like to return and retire a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Insiders has learned that the Steelers are lukewarm to the idea and will explore this option within the next month.
HEY HOLMES:   Steelers linebacker Earl Holmes will likely make a visit to Buffalo in the very near future, The Insiders has learned.  Bills general manager Tom Donahoe, who was part of the Steelers organization when Holmes was selected during the 1996 draft, is intrigued by the idea of reuniting with Holmes and signing him as the replacement to Sam Cowart, himself an unrestricted free agent.  Buffalo would like Cowart back, but cannot come to an agreement on the structure of a signing bonus.  Barring a break in the impasse, the Bills will move on to greener MLB pastures, including Holmes.

Not receiving the interest that he expected, the Holmes camp has mulled over the possibility of returning to the Steelers, sources tell The Insiders. There is one problem though, the Steelers have begun life without Holmes and are may be only willing to offer the inside linebacker a contract with less than two-million dollars a season.
KICKIN' IT:   Restricted free-agent kicker Kris Brown will visit the Texans and Bills in the next ten days, The Insiders has learned.  Brown will be in Houston next Monday, March 11, and is tentatively scheduled to visit Buffalo two days later.
TURNPIKE TANGO:  The on-the-field rivalry between the Browns and the Steelers could turn into a battle off of it in the coming days.  Guard/tackle Oliver Ross visited Cleveland yesterday and, if Cleveland signs the restricted free agent to an offer sheet, the Steelers would have seven days to either match the offer or receive Cleveland's fifth-round pick as compensation.

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