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Black and Gold Links: The Steelers’ 2019 NFL Draft plan very well might revolve around ILB

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 03/07/2019 - 4:35am

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over, but if you think the news surrounding the black-and-gold is over — think again. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.

Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at how of all the Steelers’ team needs heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, it all might revolve around the inside linebacker position.

Let’s get to the news:

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot of team needs. Some of them will be addressed via free agency, and some will be the focus of the upcoming draft. In some instances, the team will likely bring in players via both free agency and the draft. But could it all revolve around the ILB position?

Focus on Steelers’ draft starts at linebacker

By: Dale Lolley, DKPittsburghSports

With the linebackers and receivers having completed their on-field workouts in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine Saturday and Sunday, the defensive backs will take center stage Monday.

There’s a good chance the player the Steelers will select with the 20th pick in the first round will have taken the field either Sunday or Monday.

Let’s take a look at what we’ve learned this weekend as NFL teams get their first opportunity to not only get a look at these draft prospects in workouts, but, perhaps more importantly, have also gotten a chance to sit down with these guys for one-on-one interviews.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • If you are a fan of “Team Turmoil” there is at least some good news on the horizon for 2019. The Steelers have decided to not raise season ticket prices next season. So at least we have that going for us...

No increase in price of Steelers season tickets for 2019 season

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The Pittsburgh Steelers started sending out invoices to season-ticket holders Tuesday, and the organization is holding the line on ticket prices for the 2019 season.

A team spokesman confirmed that season-ticket holders will see no increase in the price of their tickets this year.

The Steelers typically raise season-ticket prices every other year, and the last increase occurred for the 2018 season.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • A lot of talk has been made about the Steelers possibly pursuing Ravens’ ILB C.J. Mosley since he didn’t have any type of tag on him recently. Word has it the Ravens are trying hard to re-sign their former top draft pick.

Ravens to try to re-sign LB C.J. Mosley despite no tag

By: Jeremy Bergman,

C.J. Mosley isn’t getting the tag, but the Baltimore Ravens could still hand him the bag, eventually.

The Ravens linebacker is expected to hit the open market when the new league year begins on March 13 after Baltimore did not slap the franchise tag on him by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline. However, the Ravens are open to re-signing him at the right price.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Tuesday that Baltimore still values Mosley and will attempt to re-sign him at a lower rate than the tag number for linebackers.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Speaking of the Ravens, in a surprise move they cut ties with veteran Eric Weddle. The salary cap dump certainly makes a very good player available. Should the Steelers be vying for his services in 2019?

Baltimore Ravens release veteran safety Eric Weddle

By: Herbie Teope,

The safety market just added another big name ahead of free agency.

The Baltimore Ravens are releasing veteran Eric Weddle, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

Weddle, who turned 34 in January, was set to enter the final year of his contact, which paid a base salary of $6.5 million. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero pointed out Weddle could have earned an additional $1 million in incentives and the release will save the Ravens $7.5 million against the salary cap.

The Ravens are interested in re-signing linebacker C.J. Mosley, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on March 13, so the extra money could help the effort.

To read the full article, click HERE

Report: Steelers expected to tender restricted free agent TE Xavier Grimble

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 03/06/2019 - 1:16pm

The tight end will receive the lowest tender available to the Steelers in 2019, a one-year deal worth $2.025 million.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have only two restricted free agents to worry about this offseason, with B.J. Finney and Xavier Grimble both eligible for an RFA tender. But while many expect a tender for Finney to be something of a formality, it might comes as a surprise to learn that the Steelers have already decided to make an offer to the tight end.

If a report from Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network is to be believed, it is actually Grimble that the team has opted to tender first, with no news as of yet about an offer for Finney.

#Steelers are putting the original round tender on TE Xavier Grimble, a restricted free agent who appeared in all 16 games for them last year and has three TDs in three seasons with Pittsburgh. No compensation for the Steelers if another team signs him.

— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 6, 2019

An original round tender is the lowest option Pittsburgh could offer Grimble this year if they wanted to prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent, but it still comes with a price tag worth $2.025 million as a one-year deal. Aside from the right of first refusal to match any other contract offer he may receive from another team, the Steelers would receive no compensation if he were to sign elsewhere.

And here are the RFA tenders, as sent to teams today ...

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 1, 2019

Many will rightly question the value of signing a third choice tight end on the depth chart to a deal that pays him more than times the amount he earned in 2018 after he recorded a mere six receptions for 86-yards last season and was responsible for a critical fumble in a game against the Denver Broncos lost by seven points.

As obvious as it is that the Steelers are keen to hold on to him, it is hard to imagine that Grimble would have had many suitors on the open market. The tight end joined Pittsburgh as a member of their practice squad in 2015 having previously been with the New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots. An undrafted free agent in 2014, Grimble has amassed a total of 236 yards from 22 receptions and scored three touchdowns in 44 games for the Steelers over three seasons.

Midweek Mock Draft Roundup 7.0: A look at the Steelers latest mock draft projections

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 03/06/2019 - 11:15am

We take a look at 10 of the latest mock draft offerings from some of the more notable names in the game.

With the NFL Scouting Combine in the books, the draft experts have made multiple changes to their boards to reflect the apparent “winners and losers” from Indianapolis. Some disappointing performances have cost a few players their place in the first round, while several prospects who exceeded expectations now find themselves rising up the rankings.

Each and every Wednesday for the next seven weeks, we will bring you a selection of the latest mock draft projections from around the NFL draft community in an effort to help identify some of the players Pittsburgh could be interested in come April. So far, we have looked at 60 contrasting offerings from some of the more well-known names in the business, with four different defensive players standing out from the pack as the most popular names to project to the Steelers over the past six weeks.

This week we have 10 more mock drafts worthy of review:

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network - CB, Greedy Williams, LSU

“The Steelers need to address the corner position. Williams has an intriguing blend of size, speed and ball skills.

(Previous pick - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan)

Peter Schrager, NFL Network - CB, Byron Murphy, Washington

“The Steelers will look to address their defensive backfield in both free agency and the draft. Murphy is a stellar athlete, who -- beyond starring for Washington at cornerback -- was a stud wide receiver and hoops player in high school.”

(Previous pick - first mock)

R.J. White, CBS Sports - CB, Byron Murphy, Washington

“The Steelers should be in play for a receiver if they do in fact trade away Antonio Brown, but if one of the top three cornerbacks in the draft are still available, I expect them to bite there. Joe Haden has been a great addition to the defense, but the Steelers have had trouble slowing passing attacks with any of their other corners.”

(Previous pick - CB, Byron Murphy, Washington)

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan

“The Steelers need help at edge rusher and cornerback but if Bush -- and his 4.44 40 -- is still on the board, they have to take him. He’s a sideline-to-sideline thumper who can wreak havoc in the run game, rush the passer, and smoothly drop into coverage.”

(Previous pick - CB, Greedy Williams, LSU)

Tom Fornelli, CBS Sports - CB, Deandre Baker, Georgia

“Some people believe Baker is the best corner in this draft class, and he could go sooner. In this mock draft, however, the Steelers are happy to snap him up at No. 20.”

(Previous pick - CB, Deandre Baker, Georgia)

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report - CB, Greedy Williams, LSU

“2016 first-round pick Artie Burns hasn’t worked out for the Steelers, which puts cornerback near the top of their needs. Finding speed, length and someone who can step in as a starter from day one is key.”

“In this scenario, the Steelers are in line to snag the best cornerback, LSU’s Greedy Williams, at No. 20 due to the run on quarterbacks and edge-rushers.”

“After running a 4.37-second 40 at 6’2” and 185 pounds, Williams fits the mold of the fast, long plug-and-play starter the Steelers are desperate for.”

(Previous pick - CB, Greedy Williams, LSU)

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times - CB, Greedy Williams, LSU

“Just because the Steelers almost never take a cornerback in the first round (it has happened once since 1997) doesn’t mean there isn’t a need.”

(Previous pick - first mock)

Dan Kadar, SB Nation - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan

“Here’s your big combine riser. Bush has vaulted himself from the second round potentially into the 20s following a strong performance in Indianapolis. He flies around the field in games, and his combine numbers back up the film. He would add a level of athleticism the Steelers need in the back seven.”

(Previous pick - CB, Greedy Williams, LSU)

Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan

“Speed at linebacker! The Steelers miss Ryan Shazier’s burst in the middle of the field and Bush punched his ticket to the first round after showing off his explosiveness at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine yesterday.”

“Bush improved at dealing with contact and quickening his reads in 2018 and enters the NFL Draft as a prospect with his arrow pointing upward.”

(Previous pick - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan)

Luke Easterling, DraftWire - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan

“Adding a corner is a must for this defense, but not at the expense of better value elsewhere. Bush put on a show at the combine, backing up the impressive athleticism, range and versatility he displayed on film. His fiery, physical playing style makes him a perfect fit in Pittsburgh.”

Round 2 - CB, Rock Ya-Sin, Temple

Round 3 - RB, Damien Harris, Alabama

Round 4 - Edge, Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan

(Previous pick - EDGE, Montaez Sweat, Mississippi)

While cornerbacks once again dominate our selection of mock draft offerings in six out of the 10 projections highlighted, it is a new name that wins top spot as the most popular player linked to the Pittsburgh Steelers this week in linebacker Devin Bush. The Michigan product has featured in a few of the mocks we have looked at as of late, but never to this level of popularity.

We will add more mock drafts to our weekly roundup as they appear and we encourage you to let us know which experts you think we should be highlighting over the coming weeks.

Cutting Le’Veon Bell loose is all fun and games until he signs with the Ravens

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 03/06/2019 - 9:44am

Just when you thought Le’Veon Bell was finally out of the Steelers hair, rumors heat up that he’s a front-runner to sign with the Ravens.

So you were elated last week when Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert made it official: the team would finally, finally, finally be cutting ties with veteran running back Le’Veon Bell (or “Le’Veon POS Bell” as he’s been known around Steelers blogs and social media sites since about January of 2017).

There would be no third franchise tag. There would be no first transition tag.

Ding-dong, the wicked witch is dead!

Bye, Felicia!

Any other iconic film quotes that pertained to finally getting someone out of your hair were appropriate and meme-worthy following Colbert’s report.

The Steelers would be moving on, while Bell, the washed-up, fat, ugly, horrible rapper of a running back, would be spending the rest of his playing days struggling with the Jets or some other team with lots of salary cap space but horrible talent and laughable management.

Much like the end of a romantic relationship that includes an ugly breakup, the Steelers would never have to see Bell again—not at the supermarket, not at the gym, not on the bus and not when they’re hanging with their best bud, Craig.

Not so fast.

What if, instead of seeing Bell on the bus, he starts dating your annoying next door neighbor, the one who calls the cops on you when your music is too loud? The one who wouldn’t think twice about having your car towed if it creeps one inch over into their driveway?

I’m talking about the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh’s main division rival for going on two decades and a team that certainly isn’t hurting in the talent or management department.

What started out as a rumor with no real substance not long ago picked up some steam on Friday when several outlets reported that Baltimore was now one of the front-runners to land Bell’s services when free agency commences on March 13.


I know what you’re thinking, how dare Bell start dating that annoying neighbor? I mean, if anyone knows the history between the Steelers and their neighbor, it’s Bell. Talk about low. Talk about the ultimate betrayal. “That POS!!!!!!!”

You know what they say, all’s fair in love and war.

The Steelers and Bell never could come to an agreement on a long-term deal. You might blame Bell for not just going ahead and signing whatever it was the Steelers offered him. I say it was just business, and Bell simply gambled on his own abilities. A huge gamble? Sure, especially when you saw how effective journeyman C.J. Anderson was down the stretch for the Rams just months after they signed superstar Todd Gurley to a lucrative and heavily guaranteed contract.

But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and if one or more teams think Bell is worth the guaranteed money he’s been after for about two years now, it could be the start of a beautiful relationship.

And if that team happens to be the Ravens, again, yikes. Like him or not, Bell to the Ravens could be the ultimate game-changer in the AFC North—and that’s not even taking into consideration the seemingly upward trend the perennial hapless Browns appear to be on.

You might not think so, but that’s just whistling past the graveyard. Bell might not be the Bell of 2014, but it’s hard to imagine him being a mere shell of his former self at the age of 27. He likely has at least two very good years left, and if those two years are spent in a purple uniform, the Steelers Super Bowl window may finally be slammed shut once and for all.

Just when you thought Le’Veon Bell was finally out of your hair, he could still be right there—as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

Report: A trade for Antonio Brown could be in place as early as Friday

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 03/06/2019 - 8:20am

Things are heating up in trade talks for Antonio Brown.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team who is not just looking to ship All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown out of Pittsburgh, but to get the best deal possible for him. Since the start of the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine there have been plenty of rumors of teams who have shown at least some interest in the prolific receiver. Some of those teams who were at least rumored to show interest are:

New York Jets
Washington Redskins
Tennessee Titans
Green Bay Packers
Denver Broncos
Oakland Raiders
Arizona Cardinals

The list could go on, in regards to teams just showing a hint of interest in Brown’s skill set. With all NFL coaches and General Managers at the Combine, it was long speculated this would be the time to really get a deal done, and it looks like it might just follow the projected trend.

This according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

Teams that have spoken to the Steelers about a potential Antonio Brown trade have been told that a deal is expected to be in place by Friday, per league sources.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 6, 2019

The Steelers obviously want to get a deal done before having to pay Brown his $2.5 million dollar roster bonus, but there might be a little something extra going on with this report as well.

Pittsburgh wants a deal to get done, and they want to put some pressure on potential suitors. What better way to do that than to tell teams interested how they might want to put their best offer together because a deal is close to being done?

There might not be a great deal offered currently, but if a team like the Raiders thinks they might lose out on Brown, they might just go ahead and say they’ll give a better first round pick, and possibly another later round pick, to seal the deal.

It is all part of the song-and-dance which sums up negotiations within the NFL. Could a deal be done and solidified by Friday? Sure. Should it surprise anyone if it doesn’t get done? Absolutely not.

Either way, be sure to stay tuned in to BTSC for the latest news and notes regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers as the offseason is really starting to heat up with the start of the new league year.


It seems as if a few more teams have gotten into the mix for Brown in the last 48 hours. This could get really interesting, really fast.

The Antonio Brown sweepstakes are heating up: Sources say the #Steelers have begun telling teams that this is moving quickly and to give their best offers ASAP. This could wrap up soon. 3 new teams have jumped in the last 48 hours. Meanwhile, #Jets, #AZCardinals are out.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 6, 2019

2019 NFL Draft: College Pro Day schedule

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 03/06/2019 - 8:05am

With the NFL Scouting Combine behind them, the Steelers will turn their attention to the College Pro Days happening all over the country in the next month or so

The NFL Scouting Combine may have only just concluded on Monday, but there will be no rest for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the coming weeks with the start of the College Pro Day season already upon us.

With so many happening at the same time, Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert will only be able to attend a fraction of these events being held around the country, but it should be expected that the Steelers will have at least one representative at most of them. Tomlin and Colbert will be seen at many of the more notable pro days for colleges like Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama and should also be spotted on the sidelines at some of the smaller schools featuring highly-ranked prospects of interest to Pittsburgh who are expected to go in the early rounds.

Purdue and Miami (Ohio) were the first two colleges to host their pro day event this year on Tuesday, but the majority of schools will not be opening their doors to the NFL until next week, with the busiest stretch on the schedule still three weeks away.

The 2019 College Pro Day schedule as per

We will do our best to track which pro days Steelers’ staff members attend over the next month and will highlight any players they meet with when the news becomes available.

Derek Carr claims Raiders locker room would be ‘arms wide open to accepting Antonio’

Behind the Steel Curtain - Wed, 03/06/2019 - 6:53am

If the Steelers end up trading Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders, quarterback Derek Carr believes his teammates would welcome the addition,

While Antonio Brown might not be feeling the love from the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room as of late, it would appear there is at least one team out there who would be willing to welcome him with open arms. With the Oakland Raiders among the favorites to land the Steelers’ star receiver via trade this offseason, it seems quarterback Derek Carr has already been thinking about what it would mean to the Raiders to have a player like AB.

Speaking at charitable event held at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera County in California on Saturday, Carr was clearly enthusiastic about the possibility of his team trading for Brown. As reported by Anthony Galaviz of the Fresno Bee.

“I would imagine he’s definitely in play. I hope he’s in play. It would be great to add a guy like that to your team, talent like that. I don’t know what it’s going to cost. I don’t know, you know the contract stuff starts getting in the way and then they got to figure out numbers and all that kind of stuff. I don’t really like the business side of football, but I just like adding good players to our football team. So, if it works out on the business side, I know the locker room will be arms wide open to accepting Antonio.”

With three picks in the first round, the Raiders make an attractive trade partner for a Pittsburgh team intent on getting a Day 1 pick in return for the NFL’s best wide receiver. Given that Oakland are the same team who were willing to part with a third-round draft pick in 2018 to acquire Martavis Bryant, it is not too hard to imagine that they might be one of the few teams will to give up a lot more than that for Brown this year.

The Raiders have the 4th, 24th and 27th pick in Round 1 and also have 3rd pick of Round 2 (35th overall) and 2nd pick of Round 3 (66th overall). Regardless of the Steelers desire to ideally see Brown land outside the AFC, Oakland has far too much draft capital to ignore if they are interested in the receiver. The Raiders obvious needs at the position could hopefully be enough to push them to make a deal.


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