The Pittsburgh Steelers are not known for their free agent spending. Rarely do you see the organization venture out and bring in players unless the situation is dire.
I guess in this case, the Steelers’ situation is dire. Pittsburgh has not only been more active than usual in free agency this year, but they have been effective in free agency as well.
To quote Warren Sapp, the Steelers were “Old and slow…its over.” After watching the defense surrender an average of 115 yards per game on the ground and give up a franchise record 55 points last season, it is difficult to disagree with Mr. Sapp’s comment.
However, unlike their trend of continually re-signing aging players, they have not only shaken up their aging defense, but also added pieces that help bolster both sides of the ball.
Most Steelers fans were shocked when the team signed safety Mike Mitchell from the Carolina Panthers on the first day of free agency. It was very unlike the Steelers to make such a move, but it turned out to be just the beginning of moves that would be made to help bolster a lineup that desperately needed assistance.
After Mitchell inked his deal and Jason Worilds was given the transition tag, the Steelers began filling gaps, and there were a lot of gaps. LaMarr Woodley was released, Al Woods and Ziggy Hood signed elsewhere, Larry Foote and Ryan Clark were given their walking papers, and Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery signed with new franchises.
Steelers fans panicked, as they saw player after player leaving Pittsburgh or being released. The team responded by adding Lance Moore at wide receiver, Cam Thomas to bolster the defensive line, and Arthur Moats to add depth at a depleted linebacker corps.
The Steelers weren’t done in free agency either. After head coach Mike Tomlin stated that they will be adding a running back behind Le’Veon Bell, the team signed New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount to a two year contract that was not only financially smart for the team, but gives them a very strong backfield.
It may not be flashy, and the Steelers may not be declared the “winners of free agency,” but rarely do the winners of free agency ever win championships.