Sometimes it’s the small losses that can make the biggest differences when it comes to the NFL. There have been a lot of big names shuffle between teams since free agency started, but for all of the losses the Pittsburgh Steelers have had, a small one today might have as big an impact as any.
The Steelers former backup safety Ryan Mundy signed a free agent contract with the New York Giants, presumably to compete for the starting spot vacated by safety Kenny Phillips. Since Mundy was only a backup for the Steelers, this signing went well under the national radar, but make no mistake the impact of Mundy with the Giants might be in question, his potential with the Steelers was not.
The defensive secondary is a unit of relative weakness for the Steelers, and with both starting safeties, Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark having missed time with injuries in recent seasons, Mundy was a steady veteran presence in the backfield. I would have never projected him to start this year, but he’s very good in run support and excellent on special teams. This isn’t the kind of signing that will force the Steelers to reach any earlier for a safety in the draft than they would have, but without Mundy on the roster, it could force the Steelers to pass on one in the draft altogether, choosing instead to add another veteran to replace that experience.
Either way, Munday is not a member of the Giants and there is one more vacant spot on the Steelers defense that will need to be filled. Perhaps a player like Robert Golden will step up and take Mundy’s place on the depth chart. I was very optimistic about Golden last season but it never materialized. Now might be his time.