Ray Fittipaldo's Steelers chat: 6.12.17
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Ray Fittipaldo
11:52
Welcome to my Steelers chat. Let's get started a little early.
Big John from VA
11:53
Thank you for taking my question...How close are the Steelers to locking up Watt and Sutton? Is there a major hold up?
Ray Fittipaldo
11:54
No major holdup. Just the way things work sometimes. Most of the others were done weeks ago. The agents for Sutton and Watt are likely waiting for others around them in their draft slots to sign. They're just haggling over a few thousand dollars at this point. There's only so much money to go around for the rookies in the pool with the current CBA.
Big John from VA
11:54
There is a report from 24/7 Sports that Villaneuva is going to hold out, from what I have read(Post-Gazette-online), that sounds like false news.
Ray Fittipaldo
11:56
Training camp is a ways away, so I will hold off on any predictions as far as holdouts go, but know this: there is very little incentive to hold out for players in Villanueva's situation. Unless he is seriously considering walking away from the game he has almost no leverage other than calling the Steelers' bluff to see if they'd play Jerald Hawkins in his place.
Dave robinson
11:56
How's is undrafted free agent kion Adams doing in otas ? Is his stock up
Ray Fittipaldo
11:57
It's football in shorts. It's hard to get a feel for any player, especially linemen and LBs until they put the pads on. I'll get back to you on Adams in Latrobe.
11:59
For Bell, I think a four-year deal worth $40-45 million with $25 million guaranteed might be doable. He's the best RB in the game and deserves to make more than LeSean McCoy, who makes about $8.5 million per year. Why a $25 million guarantee? Because they'd pay him that much if they franchised him two years in a row. As for Tuitt and Villanueva, I think Tuitt is more important because he is younger. Nothing against Villanueva, but he is older.
Back2back
11:59
Hey Ray, who is the biggest priority to sign or the most important. Bell or tutor? Also do you think they will pay bell 12M a year for his services. Other than through the use of the franchise tag.
Ray Fittipaldo
12:00
Question to previous answer.
Carlo
12:00
What is the holdup with Watt's contract? I thought there was very little negotiating room for rookie contracts.
Ray Fittipaldo
12:01
There is very little negotiating, but agents sometimes wait to see what other teams pay their players in similar draft slots. That's really the only holdup at this point. You had that Joey Bosa situation last year where he held out for a long time, but that's the only protracted rookie holdout I can remember since the 2011 CBA.
Tim Worley
12:02
If Bell holds out, would Steelers sign D. Williams or just roll with Connor, Davis, and Tous...
Ray Fittipaldo
12:04
Well, that would depend on Conner's health. His injury is not considered serious, but it has prevented him from being on the field much. But yes, I think they'd roll with Conner, Davis and Toussiant in that scenario... But don't count on a holdout that puts the regular season in jeopardy. There is almost no incentive to hold out. He'd be flushing almost $1 million a week down the toilet if he missed any regular-season games.
Guest
12:05
Who do you see as the backups on the offensive line when the season starts? And is Hawkins capable of playing on both sides?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:06
If Hawkins is going to be on the 53-man roster he has to be capable of playing both sides. I think he can do it, but he has to prove it this summer. I'd guess the three backup OL will be Finney, Hubbard and Hawkins.
Big John from VA
12:06
Does the Penguins winning now Back to Back Championships ...do you think that the Steelers may have some pressure to get number 7?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:08
There is always pressure to win a championship. But I think these Steelers embrace the challenge of keeping up with the Penguins. Many of them are fans of the team.
Big John from VA
12:08
Is the possibility of Knile Davis taking over the KO return game and Punt returns?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:08
I think he is more suited for the kickoff return game than punt returns. Cam Sutton has been fielding punts in OTAs. Demarcus Ayers is an option and of course Brown is always an option.
Glenn
12:08
What cornerbacks have impessed you even that they are in short s
Ray Fittipaldo
12:10
Sutton has stood out because he is someone who is not afraid to break on balls. But again, I'll hold off judgment until they all get pads on.
NC Steel
12:11
In looking at which players may surprise this season, I haven't seen much talk of Xavier Grimble. He's their most athletic TE, and if he can stay healthy, could be become a factor in the passing game. Thoughts?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:12
I would agree if he can limit his drops. That's still been a problem in OTAs as it was last season.
Tim Worley
12:12
About 35% chance that JuJu beats out Eli for slot role?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:13
I wouldn't worry about Juju and Eli and who is called a starter. Todd Haley will find ways to use both. The nice thing about Juju is he can play inside and outside. He might take a few snaps away from Rogers at some point, but like all rookies he must prove it in camp.
ron
12:13
of the rookies who showed up in best shape
Ray Fittipaldo
12:15
They're all professional athletes. I would hope they all showed up in great shape. But we all know there is a big difference between the NFL and college football. They all quickly learn what it takes to perform at this level. All players go through an adjustment period.
Big John from VA
12:15
with the Steelers on defense leaning more to a "Tamps 2" scheme..and with Harrison/Watt and Dupree rushing from the ends. Could we see another Lloyd/Greene style of attack?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:17
Running more Tampa 2 has nothing to do with having two dominant OLBs. But to answer the gist of your question, if Dupree and Watt/Harrison are as productive as Lloyd and Greene circa 1994-95 the Steelers will have a very real chance to win the Super Bowl. The Steelers haven't had a double digit sacker since the 2010 season, I don't think. That's a long time. THey need someone like Dupree to step up and produce like that.
Twizz Winton
12:17
Do you believe the defense has improved from last season?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:19
It's hard to say at this point. TO me, the season hinges on whether Sutton or another CB can come in and play in man schemes along with Burns. That will give Keith Butler some flexibility in how he calls games and implements game plans. If they don't have the ability to play more man coverage I really don't see how they can take a big step forward. Teams like the Patriots will pick them apart.
Big John from VA
12:19
James Conner's draft stock fell to the 3 rd round, 1. Do you think it was because of his beating of cancer? 2. Before the hamstring (or groin) injury did he start looking like the 2014 version( that lead the ACC )?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:21
You have to understand there is a difference from being a dominant college player and the potential for that happening in the NFL. In the NFL, speed and quickness is important, which is why Conner was always viewed as a player that would go in rounds 3-5. There is some question if he can get outside in the NFL.
NC Steel
12:21
Bell is the best RB in the NFL, but--what are chances he can stay on the field for all 16 games plus post-season? How's his recovery from groin injury coming along?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:22
Bell hasn't been around this spring for us to ask him about his recovery, but he is expected to be fine for the regular season, likely even the start of training camp though they won't push him. As for the durability issue, his track record is his track record. You have to assume he wouldn't be able to finish a season because he hasn't done it in the past three years.
Tim Worley
12:23
Peyton Manning hit the wall suddenly at age 39. Favre at 40. You hopeful at all that Tom Brady will age this season at 40? I mean...has to happen sometime, right?
Ray Fittipaldo
12:24
I'm not betting against Tom Brady. Their passing game is not based on throwing the ball deep down the field all that often. He can throw short passes all day long and be successful. I didn't see much dropoff last year so I'm not forecasting one for 2017. The Steelers had better be prepared to beat the Patriots if they want to win the Super Bowl.
12:25
It's nice to have athletic players all across the line to have that flexibility in your play calling. Marcus Gilbert is good on the move and big Al has some agility, too. I don't know what percentage they did that, but it was not uncommon for tackles to pull.
Cleetus from W. VA
12:27
What starting positions are up for grabs? Who are the favorites?
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