Big Lead Sports Bar


That's Putting It Bluntly

"This will be my last year as a Pittsburgh Steeler."

These famous words were spoken by one Alan Joseph Faneca, Jr. today, as he attended the Steelers' mandatory minicamp (on Mother's Day weekend, no less).

"I've been asking since February, to trade me, to let me go,'' Faneca said in such an emotional interview that at times his left hand was shaking slightly. "I've done my piece, I've done my time, I've done everything I can for this organization."

It's pretty obvious that this guy is going to be a miserable weight around the ankle of Mike Tomlin's rookie season as the head coach. It's also obvious that he's going nowhere fast, because if the Steelers were going to trade him, the draft would have been an opportune time. Faneca said today that he doesn't even want to be a co-captain this season.

So what will the Steeler Braintrust do to quiet this offseason drama? For now, it looks like they're going to force his hand. And since he's proven that he doesn't like paying fines for missing camp, I'm not so sure a lengthy holdout is in the cards.

If you look at this from Faneca's point of view, he's scheduled to make $4.75 million this season. The Bills just handed Derrick Dockery a 7-year, $49 million contract with an $18 million signing bonus, so it's easy to see why Faneca is ticked...especially when you consider that Big Al is a five-time Pro Bowler, and Dockery has yet to see Hawaii firsthand. Then when you ponder the possibility of Faneca getting injured this season and never seeing another big payday, you can further understand his frustration. But hey, if he was afraid of getting hurt, he's in the wrong line of work. The last time I checked, the average blue-collar Pittsburgher doesn't make $4.75 million in a lifetime, let alone one season.

Looking at this from the Steelers' side of the table, however, no one held a gun to Faneca's head to make him sign the contract, and they're right up against the cap as we speak. They have numerous (and younger) free agents coming up in the near future, including Troy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger. So they're not going to break the bank for a lineman entering his 10th season.

It's the classic "rock and a hard place" situation for both sides. Faneca, clearly frustrated, was probably trying to ease his way out the door with his critical comments earlier in the offseason. But at this point, it may be better for both sides to just grin and bear it than be at odds for an entire season.


The Duke from Dukes Court said...

What a tough situation:

Steelers side: they dont have room under the cap right now. They have to be sure they have the money and cap room to sign Ben and Troy in the near future.

Alan's side: Players half the man Faneca is are getting paid A LOT more than him. Why should he sit here getting screwed?

The Steelers should have traded Faneca during the draft.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

It's not the Steelers fault that other teams are overpaying out the ass for guards this year.

They simply don't have the money to pay him the kind of cash those guys are getting, so if he's looking for $18 million guaranteed, they just can't do it.

I think the Steelers basically concluded that they weren't gonna resign Alan after last season, at least at those inflated prices.

If he's not gonna resign, fine. But he needs to stop being a bitch about it.

Anonymous said...


I agree. The Steelers should not have to pay the price for a free agency market gone crazy.

I'm tired of this nonsense.

Kevan Barlow is the answer.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

The Steelers seem to feel that getting rid of a guy a few years too early is a lot better than getting rid of them a few years too late.

Dirty Sanchez said...

"Stop being a bitch about it"... That phrase applies to more situations than people realize. It applies here, Joe Six Pack doesn't want to hear you pissing and moaning because Derrick Dockery hit the lottery. When is the last time the Bills won the Super Bowl??

The Steelers know their own plans better then we do, but if they knew they were going to play out the string with Faneca this season then they should have drafted his potential replacement in April. It doesn't sound like Alan is down with the hometeam discount, but you NEVER sign players over 30 to big free agent deals. Just ask the Redskins.

And as much as I like Hines, he needs to STFU about J. Peezy already. You would think the Steelers released the Pope the way he's been crying about it. Porter is on the downward slide and the Steelers wisely saw that. Peezy got big money from the Dolphins and the Steelers got some cap relief and got younger via the draft, so everyone wins - except the Dolphins. Honestly, who is in charge of player evaluation down there?

Anonymous said...

It all comes down to this for the Steelers:

THey refuse to let the inmates run the asylum.

In the short run, it may help the 2007 Steelers to rid the team of Faneca and his disgruntled ways.

However, looking beyond one season and focusing on the next 10-20 seasons, it establishes a poor precedent to allow a player who is under contract to determine his own fate.

Yes, its frustrating, but it is a sound approach.

tecmo said...

au revoir, alan faneca. thanks for everything, but i wont miss you too much. and the steelers should have gotten rid of him during the draft.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

It's not the fact that he wants more money that pisses me off, it's that it appears that he's deliberately trying to fuck with team chemistry and make life harder on his new coach, and assistants, that he obviously doesn't want there.

Anyone read the article on Polamalu, another guy with 1 year left that's due for a big payday? Now THAT'S how you handle the situation.

You don't act like a big fucking baby on TV about it.

Laser Rocket Arm said...

I have no respect for anyone who airs his contract grievances in public. As much as I respect Faneca as a player, as a person now ... not so much.

Russell Lucas said...

What's up with saying they should have got rid of Faneca at draft-time? That's crazy talk. You'd get very little in return for a guy going into his contract year, and if you keep him, he'll play out of his mind this year because it's his contract year and he'll quit bitching by the time training camp breaks because he doesn't want to be labeled a malcontent when he hits the FA market. As usual, the Steelers are playing this one right.

I'm still trying to think of a guy the Steelers cut or allowed to play out the string and go FA and clearly screwed up. Other than Mike Vrabel, I'm coming up empty.

The Duke from Dukes Court said...

Russell Lucas I have an answer for you:
Rod Woodson

Russell Lucas said...

You think? Woodson certainly had a serviceable couple of years with the Niners and Ravens, but most of those were as a safety, and I think he'd come back to the mean-- no longer a superstar, but still a quite good player.