Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer Ed Bouchette dropped a minor bombshell this morning when reported that the Steelers are attempting to secure a long term deal with All Pro starting strong Safety Troy Polamalu.
The move is puzzling for many reasons.
The Steelers wrapped up an aggressive free agent signing spree when they locked up Lawrence Timmons a few weeks ago. All indications were that the Steelers were done until the 2012 off season.
That seemed to be a prudent move on many fronts, not the least of which is financial.
Troy Polamalu is one of the greatest game-changing players in the league today, and a healthy Polamalu is an essential part to any Steelers plans to dominate via defense.
The key word is healthy.
Troy Polamalu as been likened by From Black to Gold author Tim Gleason to an European sports car that dominates the road it rides on but is all too often in the shop.
Polamalu has been injured often in recent seasons, and his explosive style of play combined with his 30th birthday do not figure to make him more durable in the future.
Any agreement between the Steelers and Polamalu would come with a hefty signing bonus, one that the Steelers would be left on the hook for were Polamalu to be injured during the upcoming season.
The Steelers cannot afford to lose Polamalu, but they will be able to use the franchise tag to keep him under contract for 2012.
Like Jerome Bettis and Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu is one player for whom ever effort should be made to allow him to retire as a Steeler. But neither a football or a business case exists to justify the Steelers attempt to sign him before the 2011 commences.