Connect with us


Breaking Down the 2009 Unrestricted Free Agents and Their Chances of Coming Back

It’s free agency time, and with it the Steelers have a number of free agents, but none of which will stop them from being one of the favorites in the 2009 season to go back and win yet another Super Bowl. Today we’ll take a look at the teams unrestricted free agents, and what type of chances the team has of bringing these players back in the 09 season.

QB Charlie Batch UFA
– A great guy and a quality guy to have on the roster, but likely will be asked to stay with the team in a non-playing role. Batch is an 11-year pro, and at 34 his best playing days are behind him. The team simply cannot count on him to be their backup QB if Roethlisberger goes down. Chances of coming back: 10%

QB Byron Leftwich UFA
– Played well in relief of Ben in a few spots, including leading the team to a big second half vs his hometown Redskins, and played well in the season finale vs Cleveland. The Steelers would like to have him back in 09 as the #2, but he’ll get some looks elsewhere. Remains to be seen if he could be back as a starter somewhere in 09. Chances of coming back: 25%

WR Nate Washington UFA
– A pretty good #3 WR, but the team likely will start to phase Limas Sweed into that spot in 2009. Washington had 40 catches for 631 yards and three TD’s, and Ben seems to like him. The Steelers will keep him in the loop, but if another team makes him an offer to be a #2, he’ll play elsewhere in 2009. Chances of coming back: 25%

G Chris Kemoeatu UFA – This 6th round pick back in 2005 I thought played well enough to earn a new deal this offseason. He took over a spot owned by Alan Faneca, and while he and the rest of the O-line had their issues during the season, Kemoeatu has room to still get better, and I think the Steelers feel that way as well. Chances of coming back: 40%

T Trai Essex UFA
– This is where things get tricky, as the team has three tackles that are UFA, and Essex is one of them. He was a third round pick in 2005, and has had some ups and downs and has been in and out of the lineup. I don’t know if he’s that great of a long-term answer, and with other pressing options, I think he could be on the outside looking in. Chances of coming back: 25%

T Max Starks UFA – This will be the tackle that the team puts its focus on, and he came in last season in a pinch after Marvel Smith went down and played well enough to get that big deal. They could tag him again, but if not, they will work to get him signed long-term, and I think they get it done. Chances of coming back: 70%

T Marvel Smith UFA
– I like Smith, but he’s going to be 31 at the start of the season, and he is injury prone. If for some reason they can’t get Starks, they will quickly work to get Smith back. I think though at that end of the day, they want Starks back more, which is why Smith will be gone. Chances of coming back: 35%

DE Orpheus Roye UFA – The 36-year-old came back this past year and played in six games, making three solo tackles and three assists. Wasn’t much of a factor, and will be an afterthought in free agency. Chances of coming back: 5%

LB Keyaron Fox UFA – Came over from the Chiefs in 2008, and in playing a reserve role at LB had 16 tackles. Didn’t play that much of a force when given the shot, and the team likely won’t waste their time giving him more than a small look in free agency. Chances of coming back: 10%

LB Andre Frazier UFA – Showed some spunk when in there, played in 15 games, and also played well in special teams. Won’t demand much, and can be given a low deal and will probably be back if given the chance. Chances of coming back: 20%

CB Fernando Bryant UFA – Little impact with the club except a couple of pass interference calls. Don’t worry about it, he won’t be missed. Chances of coming back: 5%

CB Bryant McFadden UFA
– He should be the #1 target of the team in free agency, and I would like to see them get this done before next Friday. McFadden played in 10 games, made 41 tackles, and two picks. He has 7 picks in four years, and he and Ike Taylor can be the corners on this team for the next 3-5 years. Do whatever to get him back. Chances of coming back: 70%

P Mitch Berger UFA
– Earned a Super Bowl ring coming in for an injured Daniel Sepulveda. Moments this year where this guy made me want to throw a shoe (or whatever I could find) at the TV. Thankfully, Sepulveda should be back to 100 percent in 2009. Chances of coming back: 0% (hopefully)!

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. mark

    February 19, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I agree with B-Mac and Starks being the teams priorities. More Mcfadden then anyone. Personally, I want Nate to stay as well. Kemo is replaceable but the player would come from the draft and have to start right away. That is dangerous. I would like to see the team draft a right tackle and move Colon inside if they lose Kemo. I like Marvel Smith, but he is older and too injury prone to spend a lot of money. Does anyone think the Steelers wont draft at least 2 O-lineman? maybe 3 this year?

  2. Jay

    February 19, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    I agree with Mark. I’ve been saying all along that, if anywhere, Colon should compete at RG with Simmons (since Colon has had a trial by fire for lack of a better term outside at RT, his pass blocking may be better in close quarters inside at RG…)…I think we can get a decent RT in round 2 but if Britton or someone falls in round i, take him. I think we should definitely come away with 2 O-Linemen in the first three rounds. I’m not a Kemo fan but I guess the good news is his pass blocking can only get better from here. I hope they extend Starks now that they’ve franchised him. I read somewhere that Hartwig was solely responsible for like 6-8 sacks this past year. Is he that much of a liability???

  3. Lance Williams

    March 4, 2009 at 10:55 am

    It would be awesome if you would post the show on your site. In exchange, I would put your link on my website –

    Check out my 1 on 1 Interview wit Max Starks

    Click Link to Listen:

    Show Topics:
    1.Max Starks talks About Free Agency and his Long Term Plans
    2.Max talks about what makes Big Ben so Special?
    3.Max gives his thought son Albert Haynesworthss Deal
    4.Max speaks on the media’s focus on contracts?
    5.Max gives his thoughts on Demarcus Ware
    6.Max gives his thoughts on the differences between Tomlin and Cowher

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Show Your Team Spirit

Shop the newest Pittsburgh Steelers fan gear at Fanatics!

Steelers Gab Newsletter

Sign up to receive our Steelers Gab newsletter, and keep up to date with all the latest Pittsburgh Steelers news.



Recent Comments


More in Features