Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Jan. 8

Let's get to it:

NICHOLAS MOSES FROM SIMI VALLEY, CA: Do you think Kenny Pickett might be the NFL's Rookie of The Year?
ANSWER: The Associated Press presents an Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, and a Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. Based on projections heading into the final weekend of the regular season, the two favorites to be voted Offensive Rookie of the Year are Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson (74 catches for 936 yards, 13.7 average, 4 touchdowns) and Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III (199 carries for 936 yards, 4.7 average, 9 touchdowns). While I have written I believe Kenny Pickett has shown himself to be the correct choice to follow Ben Roethlisberger as the Steelers quarterback, I don't believe his statistics are good enough to be voted Offensive Rookie of the Year.

KENYA WILSON FROM PITTSBURGH, PA: Is Jaylen Warren coming back for next season?
ANSWER: Jaylen Warren is under contract to the Steelers through the 2024 season, and as an unvested veteran with no standing in free agency, the Steelers are in complete control of his rights during that time.

SWAY CRENWELGE FROM DUNCAN, OK: Do free agents retire as soon as free agency is over, or do they wait to get picked up?
ANSWER: How unrestricted free agent players respond to not getting signed varies from individual to individual, depending on age and possibly why the individual wasn't able to secure a new contract. A history of injuries or inflated salary expectations, as examples, could be two things preventing teams have having enough interest to get a deal done with a particular free agent. Some players choose to wait to see if injuries during training camp or early in the regular season might open a spot for them on a team in need of the position they play, while others, often high-profile players, have been known to wait through most of the regular season to see whether a team in a playoff push might come calling. There's no single answer that applies to all situations.

STEVE YOUNG FROM SAINT DAVID, AZ: If the Bears end up with the worst record in the league this season, their second-round draft pick in 2023 would be pick No. 32 overall, thanks to the Dolphins losing their first-round pick due to NFL sanctions. That pick now belongs to the Steelers, via the Chase Claypool trade. Essentially, that gives the Steelers the equivalent of two first-round picks, even though they would be a day apart. Have the Steelers ever had multiple draft picks on day one of the draft before? If so, what year and who were the players?
ANSWER: Let's start with a point of clarification: Even if the Bears end up with the NFL's worst record, and their second-round pick ends up being the 32nd overall of the 2023 NFL Draft to "essentially" give the Steelers two first-round picks, that No. 32 overall pick would not be considered by the NFL to be a first-round pick. Despite coming on the second day of the draft, the player selected with that pick would not be subject to the fifth-year option attached to the contract of players drafted in the first round, per CBA rules. OK, with that explained, the Steelers have had more than one first-round pick in one draft during the Super Bowl era, and that came in 1989 when they selected Georgia running back Tim Worley seventh overall and Pitt offensive lineman Tom Ricketts 24th overall. The pick used to select Ricketts was obtained in a trade that sent linebacker Mike Merriweather to the Minnesota Vikings.

DAN TANNACITO FROM KEIZER, OR: Has the NFL ever experimented with lasers as a measuring tool instead of poles and chains?
ANSWER: Not in any games, no.

DANIEL GEISSINGER FROM LEHIGHTON, PA: I just finished you reply to Frank Foggia about the system the NFL uses to spot the ball. What do you think of these possibilities? There are laser "tape measures" available to measure distances. Is GPS accurate enough to use it to track the ball and its position on the field? Is it possible to put a sensor in the ball to track it's position?
ANSWER: I'm not qualified to answer all of those questions and/or coming up with possibilities that would be better than having officials who start a play at the line of scrimmage be responsible for spotting the ball down the field after a run or a pass is above my pay grade. I just believe there is a better way to do what now appears to be a very arbitrary process.

BRIAN BOYCE FROM SPRINGBORO, PA: I liked the Chase Claypool trade immediately. I am in love with it now. We will be getting either the 32nd or 33rd pick of this year's draft, and we only gave up a player with one year left on his contract. Understanding we don't know who or what position we will draft, can you think of a similar trade that worked out so well and who did we get?
ANSWER: I can think of two such trades right off the top of my head. On April 20, 1996, during that year's NFL Draft, the Steelers pulled off one of the best trades in NFL history when they acquired Jerome Bettis from St. Louis plus the Rams' third-round pick in that draft in exchange for their second-round pick in 1996 and their fourth-round pick in 1997. The other one came on Sept. 16, 2019, when the Steelers acquired Minkah Fitzpatrick, plus a No. 4 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and a No. 7 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, in exchange for No. 1 and No. 5 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft and a No. 6 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. From the Rams, the Steelers got a Hall of Fame running back, and from the Dolphins they got a multiple-time first-team All-Pro who has 17 interceptions, 5 fumble recoveries, 38 passes defensed, and 4 defensive touchdowns in 60 games so far for the team, and he won't turn 30 until November 2026.

RORY WILSON FROM KITCHENER, ONTARIO CANADA: How is the winner of the NFL Coach of the Year award chosen?
ANSWER: The Coach of the Year is one of the annual awards voted on by the Associated Press, and all of the Associated Press awards are voted on by a nationwide panel of 50 sports journalists who cover the NFL.

STEPHEN WILLIAMS FROM PITTSBURGH, PA: On the Steelers' final drive of the game vs. the Ravens game, I noticed they started at the 20-yard line after the touchback, but the Ravens started on the 25-yard line on their final drive after the touchback. Why the difference? Was there a Steelers penalty that I missed?
ANSWER: On touchbacks after kickoffs, the ball is placed at the 25-yard line. After touchbacks for any other reason, the ball is placed at the 20-yard line

PATRICK KORZON FROM NORFOLK, VA: No question. Just thank you.
ANSWER: You're welcome.