July 2007 - Pittsburgh Steelers Wiretap
Steelers Make Polamalu NFL's Highest-Paid Safety
The Pittsburgh Steelers, the first NFL team to sign all of its rookies, opened training camp with a bang Monday by reaching a four-year contract extension with safety Troy Polamalu. Polamalu became the league's highest-paid safety by agreeing to a deal that will pay him $33 million through the 2011 season, which will allow the 26-year-old to be in line for another long-term contract in his early 30s. Polamalu was scheduled to become a free agent after the 2007 season. He will receive $15.375 million in both guarantees and roster bonuses. With Polamalu slated to make around $2.85 million this season, the extension will net him slightly more than $30 million over the ensuing four years. From the Steelers' standpoint, they will keep one of the best safeties and one of the best playmakers in the league under contract for $6.6 million until 2011.
Steelers Agree To Terms With First-Rounder Timmons
Outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, the No. 15 pick in the draft, agreed Sunday with the Steelers on a five-year contract that could be worth as much as $15 million and guarantees him $8,053,000 in bonus money. Timmons became only the third first-round pick in the April draft to reach terms and the first in the upper half of the draft. Previously, the only first-rounders under contract were 49ers offensive tackle Joe Starkey and Bears tight end Greg Olsen.
Big Ben Must Perform Well
Amid all of the uncertainty surrounding the Steelers as they prepare to gather at Saint Vincent College tomorrow for the start of training camp -- and there's plenty involving the offensive linemen, outside linebackers, cornerbacks and even the new head coach with the 0-0 record -- one question looms largest: Will Big Ben throw the ball to the right team this season? If Roethlisberger delivers the proper answer, not to mention the ball to the fellows in the black-and-gold uniforms, the Steelers will have a successful season. You think that's too simplistic? The team would have made the playoffs last season if Roethlisberger hadn't been horrendous for reasons ranging from bad luck with his health to bad protection from his linemen to just plain bad play from him. He was so horrendous -- throwing an NFL-high 23 interceptions, three more than his total from the previous two seasons -- that 46 percent of the respondents to a highly scientific Post-Gazette Internet poll called for his benching at mid-season and for Charlie Batch to start. Still, the Steelers went 8-8 and were in the hunt for a playoff spot until the next-to-last weekend.
Steelers Sign LB Woodley
The Steelers, who have the earliest report date in the league, took a major step on Wednesday evening toward having all of their draft picks in training camp on time, reaching a contract agreement with second-round linebacker LaMarr Woodley. A former U. of Michigan star, and the 46th player taken overall, Woodley will sign a four-year contract, the financial details of which were not immediately available.
Unhappy Faneca Will Report To Steelers' Camp
Despite his continuing unhappiness with his contract status, six-time Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca will report to the Steelers' training camp on time next Monday afternoon, for what he reiterated will be his final season with the franchise. "I don't think I'll have bells on, but I'll be there," Faneca told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Faneca's agent, Rick Smith, told ESPN.com that his client would report to camp and play out the final year of his contract.
Polamalu Close To Signing
Troy Polamalu wanted to return to the West Coast to be near his family when his contract expired after this season, or so rumors have had it. If so, he will return for visits only. Polamalu, the most unique strong safety in the NFL and among its best, has come so close to a contract extension with the Steelers that sources close to the negotiations believe he will sign a new deal around the opening of training camp Monday. Terms of the contract were unavailable but it likely will put him near the top among the Steelers' best-paid players.
Steelers Make Little Progress With Timmons
Drew Rosenhaus' other first-round client, Florida State linebacker Lawrence Timmons, still hasn't signed with the Steelers, who open training camp July 23 at St. Vincent College. Rosenhaus told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in May that "we have all the confidence" Timmons will be signed before camp starts. Given the slow progress of negotiations for the other 31 first-rounders, Rosenhaus might not be so quick to get Timmons signed, despite the agent's bold guarantee. Rosenhaus, who claims to have never had a first-round holdout, understands the importance of Timmons reporting on time.