Even with key players like wide receiver Mike Wallace, linebacker James Harrison and running back Rashard Mendenhall out of the picture, the Pittsburgh Steelers are quietly adding new pieces to the puzzle for the 2013 season.
The Steelers just agreed to a deal with seven-year veteran quarterback Bruce Gradkowski. This signing gives the Steelers a younger option as a backup quarterback. Last season, Pittsburgh had Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch as their Plan-B and Plan-C. Leftwich and Batch just finished their 10th and 15th year in the league respectively, and both are now unrestricted free agents.
In addition to Gradkowski, the Steelers also have Ben Roethlisberger and John Parker Wilson on the roster at quarterback.
Gradkowski brings much-needed experience to the backup quarterback role, since Wilson brings none to the table. The seven-year veteran was a starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2006, and was recently a backup for the AFC rival Cincinnati Bengals.
After playing for four different NFL teams during his time in the league, Gradkowski should finally feel right at home now that he is playing in the city where he was born and raised.
Pittsburgh now has a combination of youth and experience behind Roethlisberger, something that the team didn’t have last season and is something that the team could benefit from further down the road.
Gradkowski will undoubtedly go into training camp this summer as the number-two signal caller for the Steelers, giving the coaching staff one less thing to worry about in preparing for 2013.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google