Player: Greg Warren
Position: Long Snapper
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2015 Salary Cap Hit: $665,000
2015 Season Breakdown: The time has arrived for arguably the most exciting article of every offseason, the free agency status evaluation of Steelers long snapper Greg Warren, the 34-year old who is one of just four members of the team to have been on the roster for each of the organization’s two most recent Super Bowl championships—though he was on injured reserve for most of the 2008 season.
More than perhaps any other position in the sport, the less that is written about the long snapper, the better. Every once in a while, an offensive lineman can throw an impressive block that is more than worth writing about, even if linemen don’t ever actually get credited with any sort of statistics outside of penalties accumulated, officially.
It is true that long snappers, as participants in the punt team, can record tackles, although it is not by any means typical for a team’s long snapper to record too many of those. In fact, according to a variety of sources, among them the team’s official website, Warren did not record any tackles in 2015, even after posting a career-high three tackles in 2014.
The bottom line with the long snapper is, essentially, whether or not he gets the ball to the punter accurately, or to the holder on field goal and extra point tries in a manner that allows them to get the ball down and set to give the kicker the best possible kick.
Considering the Steelers had no obviously bad snaps during the 2015 season, it is safe to say that Warren did his job. And that is not to be taken lightly in a year in which the team had first-year players at both the punter and kicker positions, and thus by extension the holder position as well.
The Steelers did miss a total of seven field goal attempts, as well as an extra point attempt, during the 2015 season, but going back and looking at the misses, nothing sticks out as obvious from the snap as a clear contributing factor to the miss. And that’s about all you can ask for.
Free Agency Outlook: At this point in Warren’s career, I don’t think that the Steelers even care to bring in serious competition to replace him anymore. He is now working on his own terms, yearly re-upping on one-year, veteran-minimum qualifying contracts, whose salaries escalate while keeping the salary cap hit down, and he will do so until he chooses to retire.
And frankly that’s a position that works out the best for both parties. The Steelers have been fortunate to have a very stable long snapper for over a decade now, outside of his two injury-shortened seasons—he has not missed a game since 2009—and they know that. In fact, last year, the team even re-signed Warren ahead of the free agency period opening, just to get it out of the way. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see that happen again this offseason.