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Day 1 Steelers Free Agency Report: Tolbert regards Steelers as perfect team for him, source says

Day 1 Steelers Free Agency Report/Buzz

As expected, it was a quiet day for the cap strapped Steelers in the first day of free agency. The team went into the day with a reported $1.8 million in cap space, not including the expected additional $1.6 million from the penalties given out to the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.
Onto the latest rumblings and tidbits going into Day 2:
— Chargers running back Mike Tolbert wasn’t just “talking” when he was on radio Monday and said he’d be interested in playing for Pittsburgh.
An NFL source confirmed Tuesday afternoon that there is significant interest from Tolbert’s end in playing for the Steelers and in an ideal situation, Tolbert would sign with the Steelers. “He would love to be a Steeler and he’s everything the Steelers are about,” the source said about Tolbert.
Tolbert is seeking a multi-year deal, believed to be in the four year range, but he’s most notably seeking the right situation, which has had Tolbert regarding the Steelers as a perfect team for him, despite the team having little to no cap space.
Tolbert though is drawing early interest from a handful of teams and a visit with the Kansas City Chiefs for Wednesday was setup within the first hour of free agency.
Tolbert’s camp has made it known to the Steelers of their interest in the team, and there’s interest from the Steelers end, but both sides no the difficulties of a deal being possible, sources say. However, dollars aren’t being thrown at running backs so far in free agency.
Despite being comfortable with their running back situation, Pittsburgh had discussed Tolbert internally in the past week and he’s a player new offensive coordinator Todd Haley has raved about, a team source said Tuesday evening.
There has been some communication between the two sides but as of Tuesday night the Steelers have not attempted to move on Tolbert and have yet to setup a visit. Tolbert intends to do his due diligence on the market and not rush into a signing.
Tolbert, 26, rushed for 490 yards on 121 carries last season for the Chargers, scoring 8 touchdowns. A big powerful back at 5-foot-9, 243-pounds, Tolbert is extremely versatile and more than a power back. He is excellent catching out of the backfield, something that many feel will be a priority under Haley. Tolbert had 54 catches for 433 yards and two touchdowns last season.
— It was a wide receiver frenzy Tuesday, but there was little to no chatter surrounding Mike Wallace on Tuesday. That shouldn’t have been a surprise as no offer for Wallace from another team is expected to come. The Steelers are in a good position with Wallace and there’s no urgency to try to break the bank for him right now and realistically they can’t even if they wanted to do (they don’t).
What we’ve seen today is the going rate for top receivers on the market is at least $19-$20 million guaranteed and $12-$14 million guaranteed in year one of the deal.
Three notable deals on Tuesday for Receivers
*Vincent Jackson signed a 5 year, $55,555,555.00 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. According to reports, the 29 year old gets $26 million fully guaranteed in the first two years of the deal with the final three years not fully guaranteed. Jackson will receive a fully guaranteed $11 million base salary and $2 million roster bonus in 2012 and a fully guaranteed $13 million base salary in 2013.
*Pierre Garcon signed a 5 year, $42.5 million contract with the Washington Redskins. The deal includes an $11 million signing bonus, $20.5 million guaranteed money and Garcon is scheduled to make $13.5 million in 2012 and close to $27.5 million in the first three years of the deal.
*Marques Colston resigned with the New Orleans Saints on a 5 year, $40 million contract with $19 million guaranteed.
The surprise of the day was Reggie Wayne resigning in Indianapolis.
— The agent for cornerback William Gay has fielded calls from three to four teams, Inside Pittsburgh Sports has learned. The Bengals are among the teams planning to bring Gay in for a visit later this week. Gay who is seeking a two- three year deal, is hopeful to remain with the Steelers but he will only be back at the “Steelers price”.
Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster are basically unrestricted free agents with no compensation going to the Steelers if they were to sign elsewhere. Foster is a very underrated guard and Scott Brown of the Tribune-Review is among those who believes Foster will “garner significant interest outside of Pittsburgh.”
Legursky could also field interest from a team or two. Speaking to those close to the situation, Legursky’s camp fully expects a “couple teams to inquire” and don’t be surprised if the Colts are one of those teams.
— The Steelers plan to bring in two-three players for visits by the weekend. On Tuesday evening, they were working on details with agent Drew Rosenhaus on the team bringing in Bears tight end Kellen Davis for a visit. The visit is tentatively scheduled for Thursday afternoon a source says, but could be pushed back a day or two if Davis is still on the market.
Davis, 26, the Bears 5th round pick in 2008, had 18 receptions for 206 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2011. 13 of his 18 receptions went for first downs.
At 6-foot-7, 270-pounds, Davis is athletic and regarded as a solid blocker, making great strides in that area since being drafted in 2008. Davis runs the 40 in the 4.6 range and has deceptive speed and catches well in traffic, according to an individual familiar with Davis. He has 9 career touchdowns on 28 receptions. He’s an intriguing player.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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