Even before the start of the 2013 offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers had questions and concerns about their tight end position. In Week 16 of the 2012 season, Pro Bowler Heath Miller tore his ACL and MCL. Currently, Miller is still in the recovery stage of his reconstructive knee surgery, and a timetable for his return to the field is unknown.
Now, the Steelers’ questions and concerns have magnified over the last few days. This past week, backup tight end Matt Spaeth was diagnosed with a Lisfranc injury to his foot, which should keep him sidelined for 8-10 weeks. Furthermore, making matters worse, veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress suffered a torn rotator cuff and will probably miss the entire 2013 season.
With a dire need for a reliable target in third-and-long and red-zone situations, the Steelers should consider signing free agent tight end Dallas Clark. Over the past ten seasons, Clark has caught 474 passes for 5,322 yards and 50 touchdowns. The majority of his production happened while playing with the Indianapolis Colts from 2003-11. Last season, the one-time Pro Bowler provided his services for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he finished the year with 47 receptions for 435 yards and four touchdowns.
Surely adding a reliable veteran presence to the offense will ease the anxiety a bit for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Clark could be a viable substitute for Pittsburgh until their Pro Bowl tight end returns to the field. And even when Miller returns, Clark could be still be used to open up more space on the field for Miller and the rest of the Steelers’ receiving corps.
If this is something that Pittsburgh is considering, they should add him to the roster as soon as possible in order to get acclimated to their offensive scheme. Having already played with one future Hall of Famer in Peyton Manning throughout his career, Clark could have success with another in Big Ben if the Steelers make a move.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+