Happy New League Year! It’s the first day on the NFL free agency period and for some NFL teams and their fans, it’s like Christmas morning. Teams are starting to make moves and there is much excitement in the air. Some teams go into free agency with shock and awe, whether it’s players being released that no one expected, trades that no one was looking for or big money free agent signings.
Then there are the other teams who operate very low key during free agency. Rarely do they make any big plash types of signings, and in many cases, they don’t go out of their way to overspend and retain their own players. The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of those low key teams. They always have been and I suspect they always will be.
This season, the Steelers are on the cusp of losing the greatest number of talented players they ever have in a single offseason. Running back Rashard Mendenhall, wide receiver Mike Wallace linebacker James Harrison and cornerback Keenan Lewis are among the headliners.
But today, the Steelers did exactly what they always do today. They retained the veterans they felt could contribute and did so at a price that is fiscally responsible. That’s not the most exciting way to spend free agency, I know, but their record stands on its own merit. So today, when it was announced that the Steelers had decided to re-sign wide receiver Plaxico Burress and linebacker Larry Foote, it was no surprise. Foote has a solid season last year and bringing him back assures the the Steelers that they won’t need to spend an early pick on an inside linebacker.
For Burress, this was a depth move. It won’t shock me if he’s not on the roster at the start of the season, but bringing him into the mix now means the depth chart is more complete and it gives them a veteran presence. I’m not sure if Burress has much left in the tank as far as production goes, but if he is able to hold on and be a WR4 or WR5, I’m fine with that as well. It somewhat reduces the need to look elsewhere for another veteran wide receiver. The draft is still very much in play, however, as a replacement for Wallace could still be in the Steelers’ draft picture.