By: Caleb Luketic
The NFL free agent period hasn’t officially begun, but in reality, it began last week when teams and players were talking and agreed to deals. Those players just aren’t legally allowed to sign those contracts until today at 4pm Eastern Time. The Pittsburgh Steelers, as usual, have not been in free agent negotiations as of late. Instead of signing players, the Steelers are busy releasing players. They have released DE Brett Keisel, They have been concerned with some in house cleansing first before bringing in new talent.
The Steelers are at a lack of talent and depth at two key positions on defense: linebacker and cornerback. The Steelers are not one to go after a big free agent and enter into a bidding war with that player and other team. But instead they go after players in the draft to fill voids on both sides of the ball. However, that strategy hasn’t always worked in the past. Maybe this is the year that the Steelers will change their ways in order get the talent that they need to win because the way they have done it hasn’t worked out as of late.
The Steelers made some local news by the resigning of Arthur Moats at linebacker. Moats will be a great backup to give the Steelers depth, and he proved last year that he can spot start when needed. However, the Steelers are going to need to go get other linebackers from elsewhere during free agency. Some potential signees for the Steelers at the linebacker position are Brian Orakpo, Jabaal Sheard, Derrick Morgan or Akeem Ayers. All of these guys have potential to make the Steelers a great defense once again. Personally, my top players here are Brian Orakpo and Akeem Ayers, and the Steelers are going to need to sign one of these guys during free agency to bolster the linebacker position.
Another gaping hole in the Steelers’ defense is in the secondary. The Steelers have made headlines across the country with the decision of Polamalu. The Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has said that there isn’t any new news regarding Polamalu and his contract. Even if Polamalu returned to the Steelers, which is more than likely not going to happen, he wouldn’t be the answer the Steelers need. The Steelers need to go sign a cornerback like Chris Culliver, Sterling Moore, or Antonio Cromartie. Now I realize that Cromartie is 31 years old, but he would be a great filler player for one or two season while the Steelers draft secondary help. Cromartie would be able to show the rookies to ropes of an NFL secondary, but Chris Culliver would be the most ideal signing for the Steelers.
The Steelers really don’t have many options at corner currently other than Gay, Blake, McCain and Allen. Gay is the best option out of all of these guys, but Gay is 30 and won’t be with the Steelers for much longer. Allen signed a contract extension early last September, but you can’t count on Allen at all because he played horrible last season. So horrible that he got benched and got replaced by Blake and McCain. The Steelers need to go get secondary help this free agency.
The Steelers need to fill their needs in free agency first and in the draft second.
Photo: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette