As anticipated, the Steelers cut inside starting linebacker Larry Foote today. Foote joined the team as a 4th round draft pick out of Michigan in 2002, becoming a full time starter 2004.
Foote has started every regular season and playoff game since 2004, yet his departure is no surprise.
The emergence of 2007 first round pick Lawrence Timmons made it all but certain that Foote was headed to the bench. That, coupled with his nearly 3 million dollar salary at a time when Pittsburgh is desperate for cap space, made Foote expendable.
Mike Tomlin nonetheless wanted Foote back, and that’s where the story took an interesting twist. Recently, Foote not only made it clear that he wants to be where he can start, but he also complained that he’d felt limited in Pittsburgh before Timmons arrival.
The Steelers unsuccessfully attempted to trade him during and after the 2009 NFL draft. Finding no takers, they let him go.
Why No Trade for Foote?
Is it surprising that Pittsburgh could not trade Foote? Consider that at the tail end of the 2008 off season the Steelers dealt reserve offensive lineman Sean Mahan for a seventh round pick.
Tampa Bay was familiar with Mahan, but he did not start a single game.
One figures that Foote should start wherever he goes. So why couldn’t they trade him?
Despite the apparent incongruence of the two situations, the reason why the Steelers couldn’t trade Foote is simple. Most teams expected them to cut him, so few had any incentive to make a deal. (That’s my take, if anyone has other insight, give a holler.)
Bouchette’s Bragging Rights
This also goes to show those (such as this site) who question the potency of Ed Bouchette’s sources.
Last week Steel Curtain Rising’s Watch Tower detailed how Ed Bouchette and Scott Brown’s sources seemingly were leading them to different conclusions on the Larry Foote story. Bouchette reported that Foote would be cut today, Brown indicated that Mike Tomlin might keep him around.
Bouchette knocked this one out of the park. Hat’s off to the dean of the Steelers press corps.