NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Predicting the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves

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Predicting Pittsburgh’s 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It seems that every year we hear the same story in regards to the Pittsburgh Steelers and their offseason situation. They scramble to almost the very last second to meet the NFL’s salary cap number. This offseason won’t be any different.

After making their necessary moves to renegotiate contracts and release veterans to clear more cap space, the Steelers could set their sights on the pool of available unrestricted free agents that will be swimming around come March 11. Yes, the 2014 NFL Draft will also be another avenue Pittsburgh could travel to get some much-needed help, but some quality veteran leadership is definitely something that will get this team back into the postseason.

Both sides of the ball could benefit from this year’s free agency. It seems as if wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders could finally be leaving the Steel City, since the New York Jets are showing some early interest in the five-year veteran. As for the defense, the possibility of re-signing defensive ends Ziggy Hood and Brett Keisel are slim.

However, those are positions that could be addressed in this year’s draft, which would be the better route from a financial standpoint.

With three running backs on the free agency block, the Steelers could explore a new option to solidify their backfield. Defensively, their aging secondary will be one year older, and the same can be said for their corps of linebackers.

Though free agency could be the cause of Pittsburgh losing some of its key players, in turn, it can also be the answer to some of its potential roster vacancies. Let’s take a look at the five biggest possibilities for the Steelers in free agency.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.

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5. Larry English, San Diego Chargers

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Even with the assumption that the Steelers re-sign Jason Worilds, the outside linebacker position will still have a question mark looming over its head. There is no guarantee that LaMarr Woodley will stay healthy. In addition, we don’t know if Jarvis Jones will improve on a lackluster rookie season.

Even though Larry English hasn’t lived up to the expectations of being a 2009 first-round draft pick, he could still be a good replacement for the injury-prone Woodley, and a means of motivation for Jones.

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4. Major Wright, Chicago Bears

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Chances are that Ryan Clark will not be with Pittsburgh next season. Shamarko Thomas seems to be the heir apparent to the starting free safety spot. However, even with a solid 2013 season, Troy Polamalu isn’t getting any younger.

Although he’s been criticized for having an off year with the Chicago Bears, Major Wright could be a quality offseason signing for depth in the secondary. And with a year of tutelage from Polamalu, Wright could pan out to be a decent complement to Thomas in the future.

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3. Corey Graham, Baltimore Ravens

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There still is some uncertainty with cornerbacks Cortez Allen and William Gay as long-term options as starters opposite Ike Taylor. Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Graham has proved the last two seasons that he is capable of being a solid option defending the outside, as well as the slot. In addition, he’s an excellent special teams player.

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2. Pat Angerer, Indianapolis Colts

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Not knowing just how the 33-year-old Larry Foote will respond after his season-ending ruptured biceps injury, Pittsburgh should definitely look into adding depth at this position. There is also the concern of the inconsistent play of fellow inside linebackers Kion Wilson and Vince Williams, and the uncertainty of a return from Sean Spence.

Pat Angerer, who once was fourth in the league in tackles, could be a viable option in case the aforementioned players fall through.

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1. Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The only thing we know about the Steelers backfield for the 2014 season is that Le’Veon Bell will be there. As for the other three running backs, everything is up in the air. Jonathan Dwyer, Felix Jones and LaRod Stephens-Howling are all free agents, and re-signing all of them will be impossible. Pittsburgh gave up on Dwyer once, and could do it again. Jones was a last-minute pickup due to injuries, and never produced. Pittsburgh just might give Stephens-Howling another shot, even after coming off reconstructive knee surgery.

Depth in the backfield will still be needed, and they just might get it with Ahmad Bradshaw. The Steelers did have Bradshaw in their sights last offseason, and the same could happen this year.