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Walker: Steelers to try to keep most of veteran free agents

James Walker of ESPN has his take on the AFC North and the free agents that will be available to go elsewhere in March. Here’s what he has to say about the Steelers list, which includes the following:

QB Charlie Batch, LB Rocky Boiman, S Tyrone Carter, S Ryan Clark, DE Nick Eason, WR Joey Galloway, NT Casey Hampton, DE Travis Kirschke, RB Willie Parker, K Jeff Reed, CB Deshea Townsend

The Steelers are aiming to keep most of their key veterans, while infusing some youth through the draft. All indications are the team will offer extensions to safety Ryan Clark and kicker Jeff Reed. Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton is the biggest name on this list. But he’s a strong candidate for the franchise tag, because there is no full-time replacement on the roster. This offseason probably will mark the end of tailback Willie Parker’s tenure in Pittsburgh. Parker, 29, helped lead the Steelers to two Super Bowl wins during his career. But various ailments since initially breaking his leg in 2007 hampered his production.

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 16, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I guess we can go over this again. My input, the team will resign: Reed,Townsend, Batch and Eason. Goners are: Kirschke,Carter, Galloway,Boiman and Parker
    On the fence: Clark and Hampton. If the team wants to infuse youth, it might require a step backwards, even though they missed the playoffs this past season. Letting Reed, Hampton and Parker go will be a setback at first but not unwarrented. I hope Hampton comes back but as for Clark and Parker,I am a fan of theirs and I know they can be productive when the situation is perfect. The season is hardly ever perfect, so their position can be upgraded with some youth and health.Letting Reed go is a mistake. Period. I want Townsend to retire a Steeler and I feel he has a bit left in the tank to help a mediocre secondary. His career can be prolonged if he makes a switch to safety. Batch is interesting. He will be the 3rd QB, should he return. I would want a strong,veteran on that roster and think Batch is a model fit in that role. He may as well be a coach in uniform and I hope it leads to a coaching position when he isnt wearing one! Respect and admiration for Batch from me and all Steeler fans. Hampton is a dicey call. I would want Big Snack to take the tag, get paid big this year and help a team that is still close to a Super Bowl run stay in tact. After this season, he can explore or sign a long term deal. He isnt any younger but still brings much to the table. If he leaves, the Steelers will have a HUGE hole to fill and it could lesten the impact of our LB corp. That position requires a Casey Hampton!

  2. Muta

    February 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Hampton and Clark are musts and I’d like to get Eason back. If the money is right, keep Reed, otherwise promote Piotr Czech.

    • jake

      February 16, 2010 at 5:09 pm

      if the moneys right? jeff reed is one of the most dependable and clutch kickers in a no dome division and has won numerous games off his foot (if you remember all those close games in 08)… and you want to keep him if the moneys right??? **sigh**

  3. mark

    February 16, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Reed is more of a must than Clark! Piotr Czech?? That is not the answer to Jeff Reed. Reed is a great kicker, and should stay right where he is. I like the dependibilty he brings and its better for the Steelers to get 3 pts or more a game off of his foot than watching him do it for some other team!

  4. George H

    February 16, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Hampton and Reed are two must signs. Clark can go even though he will be missed. I would like to see Eason back, he has improved over the last couple of years and is a good fit off the bench

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