Insider Only Steelers Notebook: News and Notes

The Latest Steelers Buzz
A numbers of talent evaluators around the league believe the 09 Steelers will be the best Steelers team of the decade.
That is saying a lot, considering the Steelers have won two Super Bowls this decade but it is a strong argument.
Holmes motivated to have a big year
* Santonio Holmes appears primed to have a breakout season in 09.
The buzz around Holmes is that he has matured as a person since the Super Bowl and entering year four, he has the chance to set his price on his next contract.
His value is extremely high right now and if he reaches his potential statistically and has a 75-80 catch season, with 1,000+ receiving yards and 8-10 touchdowns, Holmes is going to become the Steelers highest paid receiver in franchise history, next off-season.
Holmes is very motivated right now and that was clear at OTA’s.
Upcoming Contract Talks
The contract for Max Starks has saved the Steelers up to $3.2 million in cap space. This will give them the opportunity to pursue contract talks with potential free agents and leaves them some wiggle room to add a veteran in camp, if need be.
The two players the Steelers focus will turn to now are

Ryan Clark and Heath Miller according to team sources. The team has held preliminary talks with Tom Condon the agent for Heath Miller.
There is a mutual interest from both sides but Miller wants to be paid like a top 5 tight end.
Look for the Steelers to make an offer of 6 years – $28-$30 million.
Ryan Clark is a priority for the Steelers because of how well he complements Troy Polamalu and the lack of depth the Steelers have in their system.
The Steelers are in wait and see mode with Casey Hampton and have not held any talks with Brett Keisel and Willie Parker.
One deal that could be done before the season, an extension for Justin Hartwig.
Drew Rosenhaus the agent for Hartwig approached the Steelers in May and the Steelers have been receptive.
They are not going to break the bank but would like to keep Hartwig around for a couple more seasons.
Titans Talking Trash
Watch for there to be a lot of buzz surrounding the regular season opener between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
During the Titans OTA’s, they have taken a number of cheap shots at the Steelers through the media.
The Titans are basking in the glory of their week 16 win and they will be in for a rude awakening at Heinz Field in week 1.
The Steelers performed the same kind of acts months before the 2002 Monday Night opener against the Patriots which was a rematch of the AFC Championship.
The Result: Patriots trounced the Steelers.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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