Ask Alex: Steelers Mailbag

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Welcome back to the mailbag, the second we’ve done this week. If you missed it earlier this week, we’ll run the mailbag twice a week now, Monday and Thursdays, throughout the offseason, and maybe long-term, too.

Like always, drop whatever is on your mind in the comments below. We’ll hang out for the next hour.

To your questions!

falconsaftey43: Ok Alex, here is a tough one for you. PFF graded Burns as “high quality” and Pouncey as “poor”. I’m a Burns supporter, but high quality seems like a stretch in terms of actual performance. But Pouncey = Poor??? Your job, defend those grades as best you can (I know you really disagree with the Pouncey one). They might not be right, but I don’t think they’re making up these grades for the fun of it, must be SOMETHING they dislike about Pouncey’s game.

Alex: I dunno, it’s hard for me to figure that out. It’s their system, evaluation, their grades. and their conclusions. But I would 100% disagree with both of those grades, especially Pouncey. I honestly couldn’t tell you how they determine he played poorly. Unless they credited him for a couple sacks allowed. But yeah, that one baffles me.

Ken: Hi Alex, There are always those players that will get the benefit of the doubt because of who they are – drafted highly, high dollar free agents, trades.etc. Some of them get too much playing time for those reasons alone. Is Sean Davis a possibility for that category? It seems like he played poorly as the season went on. Who would be your pick for this category?

Alex: Of current Steelers? Yeah, Davis could be a name you’d argue. Bud Dupree would be another. But for Davis especially, with how much he’s moved around, I think you need to take more time to evaluate him. He’s been treated a bit unfairly by the coaching staff. Dupree has at least been more static. These are huge years for Davis, Dupree, Burns. Make or break in my book.

SkoolHouseRoxx: What is up, Young Alex!? Who is closer to a pro bowl invite: Sean Davis, Artie Burns, or Alvin Dupree?

Alex: Yikes…none of them? I can’t see any of those three making it this year. Maybe Davis if he plays FS and manages to pull off 5/6 INTs? But none of those guys have good odds.

ilamarca: How much does Steratore, Hochuli and Triplette retiring have to do with gambling and the new helmet rules? It seems like a terrible time to be a referee and things are only going to get worse for them.

Alex: That’s a good question. It’s possible. Those guys have been around the league a long time though too and I doubt any one issue was the sole factor in retiring. I’m sure there is frustration with the refs in how they have to basically interpret the rule book and are playing a never-ending game of catch-up.

Jeremy: Hi, Alex. It looks like there are a few draftable guys in the supplemental draft. I don’t think the Steelers have ever ended up getting someone that way, but I guess they could’ve put in bids. If you were them would you put in for anybody this year and what round?

Alex: Honestly Jeremy, I haven’t watched any of them. Bryant, Beal, Alexander, the LB from Oregon State. If the Steelers draft any of them, we’ll obviously go all-in. But with the odds of them taking anyone being low, like you pointed out, I’m holding off. It does sound like a really strong class. Beal seems like a lock to be taken and Bryant/Alexander have a shot late too.

They were at Beal and Bryant’s workout so there’s some measure of interest. We’ll find out in two weeks.

CountryClub: When someone like me says Bell isn’t worth 14+ mil per year, I’m not saying Bell isn’t great. He is. But he’s not worth that kind of money because the teams in the NFL say he’s not. They don’t value the RB position like they once did. It’s as simple as that. Bell is on the record saying he wants to break through the glass ceiling. In my opinion, the Steelers shouldn’t play that game. Paying him what he wants means you can’t pay another position what the NFL says it’s worth. It’s hard to find a truly great RB. But it’s easy to find a good one. Let him walk after this year. The Steelers will most likely have already gotten the best out of him anyway (and paid him fairly because of the 2 tags).

Alex: You’re right about the position being devalued but if you’re a RB, do you have to accept that fate forever? Does the market stay that way for the next 50 years? Or can markets change, like they can in real life, when something big happens to shake them (like an elite RB). I mean, it wasn’t that long ago that Peterson and Chris Johnson were making some serious money. The position just went through a lull where there wasn’t great talent, where committees were en vogue, and no one was worthy of that money. But Bell is the Peterson/Johnson of this generation and it’s fair for him to look at those contracts, not what’s happening today with clearly lesser talent. So I don’t think that’s a fair argument to make against Bell.

I would like to ask though – if Bell isn’t worth $14 million per year, what do you value him at? $12 million? 10? Where do you draw the line, how do you come up with your number?

That’s all for this week. Talk to you all, Monday.

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