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Gerry Dulac is reporting in today's PG that the Steelers will use the franchise tag on the plus-sized nose tackle if they cannot reach a contract extension before Thursday's tag deadline, which is good news for Steeler fans but not the news Hampton wanted to hear.

A quality NT in the 3-4 defense is of incredible importance, and the Steelers will not risk letting Hampton simply walk away. It would literally and figuratively leave a gaping hole on their defense and on their team in general. So they'll tag Big Snack if a longer-term deal can't get done, have him in the fold for at least one more season, and go from there. That rationale worked last season with Max Starks (who was franchised and then extended his deal) and there's no reason to think it can't work again.

Hampton is on record as saying he doesn't want the tag, as is usually the case with your high-end NFL player. And a disgruntled Casey Hampton would certainly be interesting come training camp. But this is simply good business by the Steelers. They're protecting their assets, and while Hampton won't like it, he's still going to be paid a lot of money to play football in 2010.

Steelers close to putting franchise tag on Hampton [PG]

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Louis Lipps Sinks Ships said...

If I'm not mistaken, Hampton is on record for having said that the franchise tag (and the approx $6M salary that comes with it) would be an insult to him. Forgive me if I don't shed a tear of sympathy for you, Big Snack.

Obviously, he would rather have the team grant him a long-term deal with a nice guarantee, because he knows his career could end any day. But for him to expect the Steelers to commit long-term to a 33-yr-old with serious weight/commitment issues is ridiculous.

Take your $6M and STFU, Casey.

Jonny Van Mundegaarde said...

I could not agree more fully. Factor in the 2011 season that, according to the NFL players' rep, is a 14 on a scale of 1 - 10 in not being played, and that is one old, big-bone-did NT. Sorry Casey, the stars aligned against you, you're in your early thirties, the next few years the labor situation is unknown, and you're the best candidate to use the franchise tag on--you're going to get screwed. Get over it. Be a man and earn your money. There are close to 10 million Americans on unemployment, don't be an ass.

And at least he hasn't called himself a slave yet like the NBA's Larry Johnson when they had their lockout. I haven't really felt the same about the NBA since.