Steelers Say They Want to Keep Free Agent to Be Nose Tackle Casey Hampton

There’s been plenty of talk about a couple high profile free agents for the Steelers, one of which is NT Casey Hampton. The big guy says he doesn’t want to be franchised, but the team wants to keep him according to the Tribune-Review, which means he could see a tag coming:

Art Rooney II made it clear that the line for the Steelers re-signing their own free agents forms behind nose tackle Casey Hampton as Rooney II and Tomlin said the Steelers want the Pro Bowler back. The Steelers can prevent Hampton from hitting the open market by using a franchise tag on him. If they tag Hampton, the Steelers would have to offer him a one-year deal with a salary that is the average of what the five highest-paid defensive linemen made in 2009. “That will be part of our offseason plan, figuring out the best way to do that and how to handle Casey,” Rooney II said. “We’ll get into others and make some decisions about what we can do contract-wise with various other players.”

Hampton’s shoes would be awfully hard to fill, as the team has Ziggy Hood, but there’s no way he can play the nose as well as Hampton, and he might never even end up as a NT in the Pro game. For now, the Steelers should plan on biting the bullet and come to the conclusion that they are going to have to play him quite a bit of cash – when they franchise him.

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