I'm a bit surprised at this point in free agency that nobody has signed Bryant McFadden to a huge deal. But, I think it is coming...and soon. Don Banks recently argued that after the initial surge in free agency, which essentially ended after the first week, the amount in the offers would drop significantly. I disagree. There are still some top guys out there and McFadden is one of the best who is left on the board. The value of these top guys really hasn't dropped and their agents are smart enough to realize that patience will be rewarded. There are still a ton of teams out there on which McFadden would be a big upgrade.
Most of the angst in Steelers Nation over the past couple months has resolved around McFadden. While it is one thing to watch an aging veteran leave town, losing a great player in the prime of his career hurts. Frankly, I think McFadden may have been the top cornerback in the free agent class to hit the open market after Oakland resigned Asomugha and I expect Rosenhaus will demand money commensurate with the deals of the other top corners already signed.
Rosenhaus isn't exactly known as someone who will settle for a deal that doesn't reflect a player's value. That means McFadden will likely pocket at least $7M a year, possibly quite a bit more considering the deal Dominique Foxworth signed with the Ravens ($27.2M over four years). I'm expecting he'll sign a deal that comes in closer to $8M a year. The Steelers won't go anywhere near that high.
B-Mac was visiting the Cardinals this week and would immediately upgrade their defense. I hope they don't make him an offer, but if they do make him a good offer, I think he's gone. I'm not sure how high they would go with their salary cap issues, which are due to explode at the end of next season. But, I'm guessing the Steelers, who certainly want to keep him in Pittsburgh, would go as high as $5M a year and might stretch to $6M.
There is the added problem that free agent players off of highly successful teams, especially Super Bowl squads, tend to be a bit overvalued. Look no further for evidence of that than Nate Washington's contract with the Titans. He signed a contract worth $27 million over six seasons, with $9 million guaranteed. Washington was a decent receiver, but I don't think he was worth almost $5M per year.
So, the next week will be interesting to watch. Can the Steelers pull another rabbit out of their hat, as they seemed to do in keeping their offensive line together? Can they keep their best free agent in Pittsburgh? I doubt it but am hoping to be surprised. If B-Mac does leave for richer, but not greener, pastures, I think the Steelers will draft a cornerback in the second round. I still think they go with a tackle or guard in the first round. Time will tell.