1. Pittsburgh Steelers give WR Antonio Brown contract extension; Franchise Tag RB Le’Veon Bell-To be honest, this shouldn’t be a surprise (at least it wasn’t to me) as they’ve publicly made it known that both deals would be done. And when the Steelers say they will give you money, then you can (Pardon the pun) Bank on It.
  2. I predicted a 5-year $83 million deal for Brown, and I was short by almost $11 million as his deal is 5-year $72.71, and the annual salary ($17 million) make Brown the highest paid WR in the NFL. I think he deserves every penny as he continues to prove the Steelers right for committing to him when former WR Mike Wallace held out in 2012.
  3. As for Bell, he will get a 1-year salary of $12 million, which is comparable to what the top 5 players at his position are making. But no team or player wants that Tag. But it’s a good start to negotiating a long-term deal, which the Steelers hope to do.
  4. But the Steelers weren’t done, on Wednesday, they announced that they’d re-signed 38-year old LB James Harrison to a 2-year deal, keeping him with the team until he’s at least 40. I continue to be amazed at how he continues to keep it going, but New England Patriots QB Tom Brady continues to keep it going as well at 39 years old, so why can’t anyone else?
  5. As the March 9 Free Agency period nears, the Steelers are also hoping to retain veteran LB Lawrence Timmons, who enters Free Agency for the first time in his 10-year career. I like the fact that the Steelers are reaching out to him, but I would be surprised if they keep him because there will be other teams that will most certainly offer him some crazy contracts. I think it’ll be up to Timmons if he wants to remain a Steeler.
  6. Veteran RB DeAngelo William is also a Free Agent, but at age 34 I can’t see him returning. I don’t think he’s ready to retire, but I can see the Steelers going after another backup RB, and it is possible that they may draft one (maybe Pitt’s James Conner if he’s available?) But if Williams wants to stay in Pittsburgh, you never know.
  7. As for some of the other Steelers Free Agents: LB Jarvis Jones and WR Markus Wheaton will not be re-signed, in my opinion. Jones was a total disappointment after being a 2013 first-round draft pick, and Wheaton has finished his rookie deal, and the Steelers are apparently letting him test the market. Backup Quarterback Landry Jones should be gone too, which means the Steelers need to start looking at some more backups at that position.
  8. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler thinks that the Steelers won’t be active in free agency. I don’t agree. They will be $30 million under the salary cap, and after being one game away from the Super Bowl, they know it’s their time to strike. I think they will be actively meeting needs to add veterans to their team, especially on defense.
  9. The NY Jets announced that they would release CB (and Pgh native) Darrelle Revis, but they don’t want anyone to think that it’s because of his arrest after his incident on Pittsburgh’s South Side. No, the Jets reasons are because he counts $6 million against their salary cap. Whatever man, the Jets know how to spend money. They’re cutting Revis because of his arrest.
  10. To be honest, I would try to sign Revis if I were the Steelers, especially now since he was cut and isn’t in a position to demand those huge contracts that he’s been getting. Revis would be coming home and can desperately help a secondary that has more holes than Swiss cheese. Would you rather have him or Ross Cockrell starting opposite Artie Burns?
  11. SF 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick will also be a free agent; it makes you wonder when he will end up. And don’t think that his 2016 controversies will affect him. He will sign somewhere with a team that will give him a fresh start.
  12. As for College Basketball and those Pitt Panthers, to be honest, the end of this season can’t come soon enough as they continue to lose games, this time to Georgia Tech Tuesday night. The Panthers are now 15-15 and an awful 4-13 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). They wrap their season up to Saturday when they travel to Virginia to face the 23rd-ranked Cavaliers.
  13. I feel that Pitt’s heart is indeed gone. Losing isn’t easy to deal with, especially since this team hasn’t had a real losing season since (once again) those Ralph Willard seasons back in the late 90’s. No one expected them to win the ACC, but I certainly didn’t expect them to play this bad.
  14. And folks need to stop blaming first-year HC Kevin Stallings. It’s not all his fault. Now, I didn’t agree that their focus on a new offense should’ve come at the expense of the defense but again, I didn’t think it would be that bad. Stallings deserves (at least) 2 years, and he will get that.
  15. Can we finally give it a rest about Pitt’s chances at a NCAA tournament bid? It’s not over. There’s no way they will allow a team with that type of conference record as an At-Large team. They would still have to win the ACC Tourney, and I’m still not optimistic about that.
  16. Duquesne (10-20, 3-14 Atlantic 10) is just as bad as Pitt, but Robert Morris (14-18, 9-9 NEC) has improved after their awful start. Hopefully, they will win the SEC tournament and get a ticket to the Big Dance. But the best local team is 10th-ranked West Virginia (23-7, 11-6 Big 12) I hope they go far in the NCAA Tournament as they’re our Only Hope.
  17. As for the rest of CBB rankings, Gonzaga (29-1) suffered their first loss of the year, and it proved costly as they dropped to #4. They are replaced by Kansas (26-3), followed by defending national champ Villanova (27-3), surprising UCLA (26-3) and North Carolina (25-5) at #5.
  18. As for the NBA, the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers signed F Andrew Bogut this week after he finally cleared waivers after a buyout from the Philadelphia 76ers. They also did sign G Deron Williams off waivers, giving the team two proven veterans.
  19. I like the Bogut signing because he’s big and can provide that help in the paint that the Cavs have been lacking. Plus, they needed much help after the injury to F Kevin Love. Williams can prove as a solid backup to G Kyrie Irving and may start alongside him. We shall see.
  20. As for MLB, Exhibition games have begun, and I have to admit, I’m a bit curious about the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff as I can foresee a staff of Gerritt Cole, Ivan Nova (whom I still can’t believe is still here), Jameson Tallion, Tyler Glasnow and Chad Kuhl. If they do well, the team will have a shot for (at least) a Wild Card.

 

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

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