On Thursday, the Steelers parted ways with guard Kendall Simmons. It was a surprising move; not so much because of Simmons' on-field contributions -- he's been nothing more than replacement level for the last three seasons -- but because starting left guard Chris Kemoeatu was headed for free agency and Simmons' replacement, Darnell Stapleton, has only 12 career starts.
The signing eases what was developing into a crisis at guard for the Steelers. They released veteran Kendall Simmons on Thursday and were left with Darnell Stapleton as their only experienced guard and Jeremy Parquet, who has been in and out of the league since 2005 without ever getting into a game until he played briefly in five of them with the Steelers the past season.
As JJ wrote last night, "Kemoeatu isn't very good himself, but he is better than Simmons, and unlike Simmons his biggest problems (blitz pickup and technique) are things he could improve with more reps, while Simmons' problem (lack of functional strength) is nearly impossible to fix."
And that's the point: physically, Kemoeatu has all the tools, it's the above-the-neck stuff that needs sorting. That said, he was serviceable last season -- his first as a starter -- and there's no reason to think he won't improve.
Albert Haynesworth, Defensive tackle, Tennessee Titans SIGNED WITH WASHINGTON - Seven years, $100 million The Latest: Just hours after becoming an eligible free agent, Haynesworth agreed to a monster deal with Washington.
Mark Humphrey, AP
DeAngelo Hall, Cornerback, Washington Redskins RE-SIGNED WITH WASHINGTON - Six years, $54 million The Latest: For the second time in his young career, Hall received a massive deal, this time from big-spending Washington.
Nick Wass, AP
Bart Scott, Linebacker, Baltimore Ravens REPORTEDLY SIGNED WITH JETS - Five years, $40 million The Latest: Reports claimed that Scott had signed on the dotted line in New York, but the Ravens are apparently still alive.
G. Newman Lowrance, Getty Images
Chris Kemoeatu, Guard, Pittsburgh Steelers RE-SIGNED WITH STEELERS - Five years, $20 million The Latest: Despite rumors claiming he was headed to the Jets, Kemoeatu decided to stick with the Steelers, a boost for their mediocre offensive line.
Paul Spinelli, Getty Images
Nnamdi Asomugha, Cornerback, Oakland Raiders RE-SIGNED WITH OAKLAND - Three years, $45.3 million The Latest: One of the NFL's brightest young stars, Asomugha inked a gigantic contract to stay in Oakland.
Greg Trott, Getty Images
Julius Peppers, Defensive end FRANCHISE TAG USED BY PANTHERS The Latest: Despite his expressed wishes, Peppers was tagged by Carolina. He'll make nearly $17 million next season, but the Panthers will have to work out a trade for him to leave.
Streeter Lecka, Getty Images
Antonio Bryant, Wide receiver FRANCHISE TAG USED BY BUCS The Latest: Bryant will stay in Tampa, and receive nearly $10 million next year, a huge jump from the $600K he earned in 2008.
Joe Robbins, Getty Images
Dunta Robinson, Cornerback FRANCHISE TAG USED BY TEXANS The Latest: Houston will keep Robinson for next season, and continue to work on a long-term extension.
Greg Trott, Getty Images
LeRoy Hill, Linebacker NON-EXCLUSIVE FRANCHISE TAG USED BY SEAHAWKS The Latest: Seattle franchised Hill and, though he's free to talk with other teams, it's unlikely anyone will cough up multiple first-day draft picks for a trade.
Ted S. Warren, AP
Terrell Suggs, Linebacker FRANCHISE TAG USED BY RAVENS The Latest: The Ravens opted to lock down Suggs for next season, at the risk of losing both Ray Lewis and Bart Scott. Suggs will earn $10.2 million in 2009.