Closer Look At The Steelers 2010 Free Agents – Who Stays, Who Goes?

It\’s that time of year again. Here is a closer look at the 2010 Steelers free agents list as we head into the offseason. I listed the probability of their return with a brief summary of the player. The 3 most high profile free agents are Casey Hampton, Jeff Reed and Willie Colon. I also noted if they are restricted or unrestricted free agents.

LB Patrick Bailey RFA – Bailey is a special teamer that registered 13 tackles on returns in 2009. He was also part of one of the worst Steelers special teams units in quite a while. Bailey is a coin flip at best to return in 2010. He could be re-signed and brought to camp, but with another draft right around the corner, he likely could be beat out by another rookie linebacker.

Probability of returning: Coin Flip

RT Willie Colon RFA – Because of 2010 looking like an uncapped season, Colon will not qualify to be an unrestricted free agent. With a little more emphasis expected to be on the running game in 2010, Colon likely will be tendered at a first or second round offer in hopes of bringing him back. He also might be considered for a new contract before the start of free agency. Either way, I feel pretty good about him being back on the roster in 2010.

Probability of returning: 75%

RB Carey Davis RFA – Davis was brought back at the end of September when rookie running back Frank Summers was placed on injured reserve with a back injury. Davis was inactive a few games nonetheless and the Steelers will likely just keep his number in the Rolodex.

Probability of returning: 5%

CB William Gay RFA – Big Play William Gay lived up to his name in 2010 by giving up several big plays. At the end of the season veteran Deshea Townsend was having to start in his place. I doubt he will be tendered and will be allowed to sign elsewhere when free agency starts.

(UPDATED February 22nd) I have changed by stance on Gay based on the landscape of free agency and removing my personal bias. It does indeed make since that he will be tendered at some level and better than average shot of being brought back.

Probability of returning: 5% 55%

P Daniel Sepulveda RFA – Sepulveda was a welcome sight to Steelers fans. He did not amaze in 2010, but I can not remember any shanks either. He could be a sought after free agent, but the Steelers likely will tender him high enough to keep him. The last thing the Steelers want to do is to waste a draft pick on a punter or worry about bringing in someone else late in free agency.

Probability of returning: 95%

TE Matt Spaeth RFA – Spaeth is a curious subject and could go either way. He is the only other real pass catching tight end on the roster besides Heath Miller. If he is tendered or resigned, he likely will have some competition in form of a draft pick or free agent signing.

Probability of returning: Coin Flip

C/G Darnell Stapleton RFA – Stapleton never made it out of training camp with a knee injury and spent the season on IR. He is better suited at center, but can play some guard, but not at a high level. The Steelers will likely draft a guard or center in the draft and if Stapleton signs for the minimum, he might be in camp fighting for a roster spot.

Probability of returning: 25%

QB Charlie Batch UFA – Father time tracked down Charlie in 2008. He and Dennis Dixon sprinted past him in 2009. Batch likely will retire and at best be a training camp invite. Based on his veteran minimum, he will be too expensive to be a number 3 in 2010.

Probability of returning: 10%

LB Rocky Boiman UFA – Boiman was brought in late for special teams help and I can\’t see him being brought back.

Probability of returning: 0%

SS Tyrone Carter UFA – Carter has a history with Tomlin and is much better suited as a backup free safety instead of a backup strong safety. All that said, the Steelers need to get younger in the secondary, so Carter has likely played his last game in Pittsburgh.

Probability of returning: 0%

FS Ryan Clark UFA – Clark has seen his better days and really played below the line in 2009. I can\’t see the Steelers re-signing him or placing a tag on him. In an uncapped year, Clark can get bigger money elsewhere for his final contract. This one still could really go either way.

Probability of returning: 35%

DE Nick Eason UFA – Eason will be 30 in May and while he showed some glimpses of good play in a few games, he was inactive for several others. He will likely be signed by another team needing backup defensive end help. I doubt he will be back.

Probability of returning: 15%

NT Casey Hampton UFA – Big Snack claims he wants to come back. He made the Pro Bowl this year and will be very upset if he hit with the franchise tag without the promise of working out a bigger contract. He stands to make big money if not tagged and could hold out if he is slapped with an exclusive tag. The Steelers certainly will be looking for another nose tackle early in the draft and that might not set will with him either. If I was a betting man, I say he is gone, but for right now it is a toss up.

Probability of returning: Coin Flip

DE Travis Kirschke UFA – Kirschke will be 36 at the start of the 2010 season. He does not have much left in the tank and will likely sign elsewhere as a reserve.

Probability of returning: 5%

RB Willie Parker UFA – FWP is saying all the right things, but simply will not be back. He also had his best performance in week 17 versus Miami and that alone will get him big money elsewhere. He does not want to be a number 2 to Rashard Mendenhall if brought back. Off he will go to free agency.

Probability of returning: 0%

K Jeff Reed UFA – Despite his off field problems and early season hiccup, Reed was money this year. No one knows Heinz Field like he does and he can win games for the Steelers. He will be a perfect candidate for a transition tag or a new deal. He needs to work on his kickoffs in the offseason.

Probability of returning: 90%

CB Deshea Townsend UFA – I just can\’t see Townsend being worth any type of money. There are holes in the Steelers secondary and they will be filled with younger bodies in 2010.

Probability of returning: 0%

WR Joey Galloway UFA – Who? Signed for the final 2 games, Galloway never was active. He was merely a veteran to use in case Hines Ward could not heal his hamstrings. Gone for sure.

Probability of returning: 0%

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