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Asked and Answered: March 15

Posted Mar 15, 2018

Another installment of Bob Labriola answering your questions about the Steelers and the NFL.

Let’s get to it:

KIRLON FURGUS FROM BLACKWOOD, NJ:
You think the Steelers should trade Martavis Bryant, so they can get something for him before he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season?

ANSWER: How about 50 catches for 765 yards (15.3 average) and six touchdowns? Does that qualify as “getting something?” That’s what Martavis Bryant posted in 2015, the season before he was suspended. Or how about 50 catches for 603 yards (12.1 average)? That’s what he posted last season. News flash: whatever the Steelers got in return for trading Martavis Bryant wouldn’t allow them to replace Martavis Bryant. Which would make a trade just plain stupid.

Besides, General Manager Kevin Colbert said definitively at the NFL Scouting Combine that Bryant would not be traded. Since so many of you out there weren’t paying attention based on the submissions I continue to get about trading Bryant, here is what Colbert said:

“Martavis was never offered in a trade. Teams have inquired about his availability because of media reports, and we’ve quickly dismissed that and said he’s not available. Martavis did a great job of getting back on the field last year. Not many guys have come back from a one-year suspension. He was able to do that, and he did a lot of good things for us last year. And we’re looking forward to him doing it for us in 2018 and continuing to build on his own career as well.”

RALPH SCOTT FROM HOPEWELL, PA:
In your response to a question about why the players' union does not oppose Thursday night games, you noted the players stand to receive about $300 million a year as their share of the revenue for the broadcast rights to those games. How is that money distributed, given that the players have individual contracts? Is it used to fund pensions, retirement medical coverage, etc.? Is any portion distributed directly to the active players in terms of bonuses? I'm guessing the money is used for retirement purposes.

ANSWER: To put it as simply as possible, money derived from broadcast rights goes into the pool of revenue that then is divided between players and management and then goes into determining the salary cap per team per year. Each year when the NFL announces the salary cap, and how much it has increased over the previous year, it’s things like broadcast rights revenue that accounts for the increase.

DENNY CLEARY FROM LOUISVILLE, KY:
With regard to this question: "Off the top of your head, can you name any offensive players who had great NFL careers after the Steelers let them go?" I would nominate Len Dawson, with whom I played touch football at Bellevue Memorial Park and Pool when I was a kid. He and several other players, including John Reger and George Tarasovic, came there to prepare for camp, then would hang around to play football and basketball with the kiddos.

ANSWER: Because of the way the question was phrased – “after the Steelers let them go” – and because it was submitted the same week that free agency was to begin, I believed the question had to do with players who became unrestricted free agents and were not re-signed by the Steelers. Len Dawson, John Unitas, and 1,000 of the other “corrections” I received involved guys who were “waived” or “cut,” as opposed to “let them go” because they didn’t play in the era of free agency.

Sorry to have made your submission the example for my clarification, but I actually enjoyed the anecdote you included in your submission. I am old enough to remember John Reger and George Tarasovic as Steelers linebackers, but Len Dawson as a member of the Steelers was before my time. Slightly.

LOUIS HANSEN FROM GRANITE CITY, IL:
Would the Steelers take Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans with the No. 28 pick of the first round?

ANSWER: He certainly would be in the conversation.

DOUG COPPEER FROM FAYETTEVILLE, AR:
If a player has been “tagged” by the franchise but hasn’t signed the tender offer, can he still be traded?

ANSWER: No. A trade only can be made once the tag is signed.

KEVIN STAATS FROM FREDERICKSBURG, VA:
Why didn't the Steelers just change Le’Veon Bell’s position to tight end or placekicker so they could have taken advantage of the lower franchise tenders at those positions?

ANSWER: If the Steelers, or any team, would try to take that route, a grievance would be filed quickly by the NFLPA. After investigating the way the player has been used by his team, a determination of his position for the purpose of the application of the franchise tag would be forthcoming. And using the example you present, it would be determined immediately that Le’Veon Bell carried the ball too many times to be a tight end, and since he never kicked the ball he couldn’t be considered a placekicker.

MILES READER FROM PILESGROVE, NJ:
The Steelers had the option of using the non-exclusive franchise tag on Le'Veon Bell. Can you suggest why they did not use that option?

ANSWER: I cannot say for certain, but my guess would be that by placing the exclusive franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell and thereby prohibiting him from seeking a deal with any other team, the message conveyed would be that the only chance to get a long-term deal done would be with the Steelers. That theoretically could serve to focus the negotiations.

ROBERT MONTELEONE FROM SETAUKET, NY:
I know the Steelers can’t make a big splash in free agency due to the salary cap. However, I think bringing back a guy Like Lawrence Timmons to stabilize the inside linebacker position for a year or two while grooming younger players makes sense. What do you think?

ANSWER: The Steelers already have an inside linebackers coach. His name is Jerry Olsavsky, and as someone who has played inside linebacker for the Steelers while the team was using a 3-4 scheme, he is perfectly capable of “grooming” players. I would prefer the Steelers use their available space under the salary cap on someone who would represent an upgrade. My personal opinion is that I don’t see Lawrence Timmons as an upgrade.

GABE KENNEDY FROM DEFOREST, WI:
Do you read all of the questions that people submit to you?

ANSWER: Unfortunately for my sanity, yes.

MATT NICHOLAS FROM PHILADELPHIA, PA:
Is it time to invest a high pick in a quarterback yet?

ANSWER: No, no, 1,000 times no.

MICHAEL KANE FROM RIDGECREST, CA:
I am really just hoping to be the first to suggest the Steelers sign Ndamukong Suh and then of course immediately move him to safety. If I'm not the first I'm so disappointed. Thanks for column and the sense of humor. It's a long offseason.

ANSWER: You have no idea how long.




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