With the season over it is now time for Pittsburgh to focus on re-signing the players who are due to be free agents at season’s end. Many key players are going to have the ability to test the market.
Mike Wallace is one of these players that Pittsburgh must resign. He is becoming one of the best deep threats in the league. He has the speed to run past most cornerbacks, and has the ability to cut on a dime and get open across the middle. Defenses must respect Wallace’s home-run potential, thus opening the field for other players. Wallace makes the whole offense better and can strike at any moment. Wallace is a restricted free agent, meaning that Pittsburgh can match offers from any team in order to keep him.
Another key player the Steelers need to retain is offensive tackle Trai Essex. He has the skills to play all five positions on the line, which is a key asset due to the Steelers recent history of injuries up front. Essex was asked to play center this season against St. Louis after backup Doug Legurksy went down. It is extremely difficult to transition from being strictly a protector to suddenly being responsible for calling out blocking duties and snapping the ball.
All three of Pittsburgh’s backup quarterbacks are free agents. They should focus on trying to re-sign Charlie Batch. He is a crowd favorite among the fans and is a veteran who can step in and run the offense if Big Ben goes down. It would be nice to sign Byron Leftwich or Dennis Dixon as well, but there are plenty of quarterbacks in the league who are serviceable if Pittsburgh chooses to let them walk.