Wide receiver Hines Ward is being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's been a long and dedicated career for Ward, but his numbers have been dipping the past two seasons, only playing nine games and catching 46 passes last season. Now that Ward is about to turn 36 years old, it's clear he's on the downside of his career, and that his best days are behind him. It doesn't make sense for the Steelers to commit too much to him when Ward's production is only likely to decline from here on out.
That being said, Ward isn't ready to hang it up by any measure. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the story.
Ward previously had said he’d be willing to take a pay cut from his $4 million salary to stay with the team. But even at the 10-plus-year veteran minimum of $925,000, Ward had fallen too far down the depth chart to justify having a roster spot and not playing special teams.
Other teams could be interested. Former Steelers offensive coordinators Ken Whisenhunt and Mike Mularkey are coaching the Cardinals and Jaguars, respectively. Also, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune pointed out, Ward played for Bears receivers coach Darryl Drake at Georgia.
Ward could really make an impact for a team like the Arizona Cardinals, particularly playing the foil for the outstanding Larry Fitzgerald. His familiarity with Whisenhunt should make it easier for him to adapt to playing with the Cardinals. Ward sounds like a strong match for Arizona if everything works out right.
To discuss Ward and the Cardinals, head on over to Revenge of the Birds.