Sunday Morning Massacre

The ins & outs, ups & downs and back & forth of free agency involving the Steelers, the AFC North, and the rest of the National Football League.

According to a source within the Steelers front office, the organization has held discussions regarding the possibility of restructuring the contract of Kordell Stewart, but have yet to approach either the quarterback or his representatives.  Stewart would be willing to help the Steelers and their tight cap situation, but would only do a simple restructure.  A pay cut will not be considered by Stewart.  The good news for the QB, though, is that, if the Steelers do approach his camp, it's highly, highly unlikely that he would be asked to slash his compensation....
 
The Falcons have an interest in Pittsburgh's Deshea Townsend, and may bring the nickel cornerback in for a visit at some point this coming week.  Townsend, an unrestricted free agent drawing precious little interest on the open market, received what he considered to be a low-ball offer last weekend from the Steelers....
 
Free agent inside linebacker Earl Holmes will visit the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.   The Insiders has learned that Holmes, while on the open market is open to return to Pittsburgh, even at a salary less than he originally turned down from the team....
 
Free agent linebacker, Stephen Boyd visited and passed a physical given by the Steelers. No deal is close with Boyd as the team has concerns about the back injury occurred by Boyd last season with the Detroit Lions....
 
Contrary to some earlier reports, the Steelers do not have an interest in former Pittsburgh defensive back, Rod Woodson at this time, according to sources close to the team....
 
Sniffing around the NFL Draft, The Insiders has earned that linebacker Robert Thomas from UCLA is a player that interests the Steelers. Thomas, a tough and aggressive linebacker could be an ideal replacement for the probably departed Earl Holmes....
 
Indications are that free agent tight end Dave Moore and the Steelers will talk contract early next week. According to sources, the Steelers and Moore are a good fit and a deal could be in the offing.....
 
AFC NORTH-SIDE TIDBITS: Offensive tackle Roman Oben, released by the Browns earlier this month, is drawing some interest from the Redskins.  Oben was ostensibly released Oben for salary-cap reasons, but, in reality, his finesse-style of blocking did not fit with the smash-mouth type of blockers that head coach Butch Davis is seemingly looking for on his line. ... Free-agent guard Ray Brown has put out feelers to the Browns that he would like to sign with the organization, although, at this point, it's highly unlikely that Cleveland would reciprocate that interest.  Brown is 39-years-old and does not seem to fit the profile of what the Browns are looking for in free agency, but he is coming off the first Pro Bowl selection of his career. ... The decision of since-retired quarterback Elvis Grbac to refuse a pay cut will not only have ripple effects on the QB position, but on the defensive side of the ball as well.  Baltimore could have cleared nearly $3 million in cap space if Grbac would have agreed to the drastic pay cut, using a vast majority of that savings in their ongoing effort to retain free-agent cornerback Duane Starks.  As it stands now, the club is simply too cap-strapped to make a serious run at the corner. ... Snubbed by the Browns due to the fact that he was asking for more money than they had budgeted, free-agent defensive end Keith McKenzie will make his first visit of the offseason.  McKenzie, who played well during his two seasons in Cleveland, will visit the Vikings today as the club continues their search for a revamped defensive line.  Yesterday, fellow DE Kenny Mixon inked a five-year, $17 million contract. ... The Bengals have not-so-quietly made the signing of tight end Ken Dilger their top offseason priority.  Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski has deemed it an absolute necessity to upgrade the position and has fallen hard and fast for the former Colts TE.  Expect Cincinnati to intensify their efforts to sign Dilger in the coming days.
 
LEAGUE-WIDE BAUBLES:  While the Dolphins lost Kenny Mixon to free agency, they did retain one of their own UFAs as safety Brock Marion has reached an agreement on a five-year, $9.5 million contract.  The new deal, reached yesterday afternoon, will also include a $2.75 million signing bonus. ...The Bills have re-signed center Bill Conaty to an undisclosed contract.  Head coach Gregg Williams has publicly raved about the lineman's toughness and leadership abilities, which led the club to make a serious push toward re-signing the veteran. ... Cardinals defensive back Corey Chavous is drawing interest from the Bills, not as a cornerback where he started 14 games last season, but as a safety. ... The Patriots have made signing a new tight end one of their top priorities this offseason, but have yet to make a contract offer to any of the "Big Three".  Ken Dilger, Freddie Jones and Byron Chamberlain have all been involved in talks and/or visits with New England, but the Patriots are attempting to get one of the trio on the cheap. ... The Giants are on the verge of losing Shaun Williams to free agency as the safety has visits scheduled with the Titans, Eagles and Broncos in the near future.  New York is tight up against the salary cap -- only an estimated $800,000 underneath the $71.1 million cap -- and will likely not be able to compete for Williams' services. ... ... The Eagles have an interesting decision to make by this Friday regarding their running back situation.  The team had a very positive visit with Warrick Dunn in the middle of last week and are extremely interested in signing the free-agent back.  The club's current starter, Duce Staley, is due a $500,000 roster bonus this Friday.  The Eagles would like a decision by Dunn no later than Thursday so that they can release Staley or trade him without paying the $500K bonus. ... Yet another offensive lineman could become a cap casualty this week as the Bears may release starting offensive tackle Blake Brockermeyer before he's due a roster bonus in the coming days.  Brockermeyer's cap number -- nearly $5 million -- and the fact that he's bothered by knee problems has made the club deem him to be expendable.

Steel City Insider Top Stories