Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

25 Feb 2010

Steelers Re-Sign Casey Hampton

The Steelers lock up a veteran free agent as he hits the market? Wow. Casey Hampton gets a three-year, $21 million deal, with $11 million in guaranteed money.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 25 Feb 2010

26 comments, Last at 27 Mar 2010, 4:58am by sports-veronica


by bengt (not verified) :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 11:31am

Franchise tag would have been 7 M$, so Big Snack has to go another 1.6 years until amortization.

by Mystyc :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 11:36am

Probably planet theory at work again. It's easy to cut Joey Porter when you (seemingly always) have two quality linebackers ready to step up, but it's much harder to find a replacement for a 3-4 NT, regardless of your scouting and development teams.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 12:43pm

Good move for the team, but it always surprises me a little when players sign a contract under these circumstances: even if he wanted to come back to Pittsburgh, surely he would have had more leverage if he'd hit the open market and shopped offers from other teams back to the Steelers?

by Oscar (not verified) :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 1:06pm

He never would have hit the market as the Steelers would have slapped him with the F-tag, had they not reached an agreement today.

by FooBarFooFoo (not verified) :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 6:11pm

Isn't he technically allowed to talk to other teams about a contract as long as he does not sign the tender?

by Brendan Scolari :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 3:36am

I don't think so, weren't people saying there was tampering involved when free agents would sign as soon as free agency opened?

by Oscar (not verified) :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 8:21am

Yes he is, but the Steelers would receive two 1st round picks as compensation if another team signed him, which would probably prevent all other teams from signing him.

by FooBarFooFoo (not verified) :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 3:43pm

That was clear, but he could legally "test the market".

As bad as the 21 Mio deal looks like, his agent probably did not "illegaly" test the market ...

by Andy Watkins (not verified) :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 1:01pm

I'm not a fan. Casey's a lot slower than he used to be; he's not really worth the cash. WE could very easily have signed Dunta Robinson or Julius Peppers with that kind of money; losing Hampton and gaining either would be, in different ways, an upgrade for our defense.

by Independent George :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 1:08pm

I partly agree. Hampton is aging quickly, Robinson would help a weak secondary, but Peppers would be a lousy fit for Pittsburgh. He's not a 3-4 end, and it'd be pointless to pay Peppers' price for a 3rd pass-rushing OLB.

by Oscar (not verified) :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 1:09pm

Julius Peppers? Really? To split time with Woodley and Harrison?

by ArchnerdUW :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 3:03pm

Really? Peppers I don't see as a schematic fit. Robinson from 2 years ago, but he does not seem to be all the way back from a series of pretty serious injuries. But he would still be an upgrade, no doubt. But not signing Hampton? Who in the world do you replace him with? The Steelers defense is entirely dependent on good NT play. If you don't resign Hampton then you enter the draft having to get a NT/DT in the first round. Now you have options. Only 11 million or so is guaranteed making the deal essentially a year to year thing for three years. Plus the deal is essentially below market value. Sorry, but I don't see how this isn't a win for both sides.

by dryheat :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 1:08pm

I would love Vince Wilfork to take the same deal, but I have a feeling it won't be that easy.

by drobviousso :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 3:00pm

Sounds about right. This gives them a few years to find a NT in the draft. This year has a few, but there are many needs this year.

by Theo :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 3:46pm

I don't know how many plays he is on the field, but this makes me happy as a steelers fan. They need some depth on the line and with 1 or 2 extra draftees in there, they will have it.

by Justin Zeth :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 4:57pm

But ugh, they put the tag on Jeff Reed.

I'm actually OK with keeping Reed around--I don't trust anyone else to figure out how to reliably kick field goals at Heinz Field--BUT PLEASE STEELERS GET A KICKOFF SPECIALIST SERIOUSLY STOP TORTURING US AND YOUR SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYERS ARRRRGGGHHH.

by Rocco :: Thu, 02/25/2010 - 11:18pm

Pretty sure that the only FG Reed missed at Heinz was the 53 yarder against Oakland, which was just dumb of Tomlin to think of trying. Reed's a reliable FG kicker, in between the episodes of stupidity. Definitely need a kickoff specialist.

I don't mind keeping Hampton around- he's still effective, and it's not like there's a better option available in FA or in the draft (unless you think Wilfork is realistic and is better, but I'm not sure about the former). The Steelers need an effective NT for their defense. This probably means they're letting Clark walk and will take a safety in the first round. O-line? Why fix that?

by MurphyZero :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 12:34am

If they don't sign a kickoff specialist and I doubt they will, please try Sepulveda on kickoffs. If he can't do it fine, but you have to try him at kickoffs.

by Justin Zeth :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 1:08am

If he can't do it, well, Reed can't do it either, and at least Sepulveda can tackle.

by bengt (not verified) :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 4:47am

Reed shanked one field goal in the hurricane game against Miami. From hearsay it went to one of the end zone pylons.
He clearly can not reliably kick touchbacks, or the Steelers would ask him to do it, but who can? He kicks it really far once and again, so it might be that he is asked to kick it short and high (relatively speaking) to account for the poor coverage teams.
I doubt that they plan to start a rookie in place of Clark, even a first rounder. That experiment already failed with Polamalu(!). If they decide not to keep Clark, they must have a free agent in mind. Much like the transition from Chris Hope to Clark.

by Whatev (not verified) :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 4:53am

Wait, who can reliably kick touchbacks on his team, or who can reliably kick touchbacks in the league?

by tuluse :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 8:07am

Depends on your definition of reliably. Looking over the stats quickly it looks like 9 players got touchbacks on 25% or more of their kickoffs, and 3 kicked 1 in 3 for touchbacks.

by drobviousso :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 1:20pm

"so it might be that he is asked to kick it short and high (relatively speaking)"
Jim Wexell responded to one of my tweets indicating the Reed has been asked to kick high and short.

by Oscar (not verified) :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 8:23am

Reed is one of the worse kickoff men in the NFL but he is also a top 3 kicker.

Solution: keep Reed and get a kickoff specialist.

by Justin Zeth :: Fri, 02/26/2010 - 2:54pm

Reed presently kicks low and short. His kicks are usually low line drives that land around the 8 yard line. So what does 'kick it high and short' mean? Better to say 'high and shorter'. At which point just kicking out of bounds and letting the other team have the ball on the 40 every time becomes something to think about, rather than kicking it high and having it come down around the 25. Might as well eliminate all chance of a return.

Said it before, will say it again: One of the Steelers' few organizational weaknesses is they're still stuck in the 1970s when it comes to special teams thinking. They don't realize how painfully many points they give away by letting Reed kick off.

The 'have Reed kick it high and short' sounds like the thinking of someone who doesn't realize that Reed is the primary problem with the Steelers' kickoff unit, like we're just going to kick it high because we can't cover kicks. Reed's horribly bad kickoffs are the main reason so many kicks get taken back a long way against the Steelers.