Just say no to Chris Hope. I'm telling you. He's not an upgrade over Carpenter, Scott, or Edwards. He only is OK in Pittsburgh because he has a great group of guys around him that cover up his mistakes. I'm telling you, signing him is the equivalent of signing Cory Hall. Just another body. He misses tackles, blows assignments. Frankly, Hope has plenty of opportunity to show that he can get the job done in Pittsburgh over the years.
This is how I slice it:
In 2002, Hope was a 3rd round pick.
In 2003, the Steelers drafted Polamalu in the 1st round.
Both Polamalu and Hope struggled in 2003 as starters. Polamalu has since made leaps and bounds in improvement, and now is arguably the best safety in the NFL. Hope, is an average starter if you can call him that. That should be a major red flag for anybody. Sure, you could say that Polamalu's improvement was on the part of better talent. And I'd agree, but fact is that the talent difference between your typical 1st and 3rd rounder isn't that huge at the safety position. Which is one of the reasons why safeties don't go in large numbers in Round 1, because most NFL teams/scouts agree that you can wait until Round 3 or so and still get a good player. usually the difference being a 1st round safety is a bit more polished all-around and a 3rd rounder tends to excel in 1 area and struggle in the other. Fact is, nothing in 2003, whether it was leading up to the draft or during the season would have indicated to many that Polamalu would be within 3 years the best safety in the NFL.
Another red flag should be the fact that the Steelers will let him go without batting an eye. Teams that are signing free agents should take notice to how their current teams feel about a player. It's one thing if the cap prevents the team from making a serious offer, or injuries are involved, or the player didn't fit the scheme. But the Steelers are ready to move on and will take their chances in the draft probably with the mindset that they could wait until Round 4 or 5 and still upgrade over Hope, or they can just plug the hole with Tyrone Carter (a career dime back) until they find someone better. Now don't get me wrong, Tyrone Carter IMO has been underappreciated, underrated, and overlooked during his entire 6-year NFL career, but to pretend he's anything more than Keion Carpenter pre-injuries would be foolish. And frankly, I don't think we need another Keion Carpenter circa 2002 at the safety position.
Will Demps coming off a torn ACL is a better option than Hope. Dexter Jackson is a better option. Marlon McCree = better option. Signing Chris Hope to be anything more than a #3 safety is going to set yourself up for failure. He'll be another name in a long string of names of marginal safeties we've had in Atlanta. Sure, maybe DEmps, Jackson, and McCree would be too, but at least with those 3 (among others) we have a much better shot of reversing history.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.