Steelers Free Agency 2013: Mike Wallace highlights 19 Steelers unrestricted free agents

The Steelers face a few important questions this offseason, and none of them involve a certain wide receiver who's set to hit the free agent market this February.

It's been generally perceived Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace will make for greener financial pastures in 2013. He missed what would have been his last game in a Steelers uniform with a hamstring injury - the first game he missed in his four-year career.

Where he'll end up is likely to be the team with the money to pay him somewhere in the vicinity of $30 million guaranteed over a five year deal. The Steelers are not interested in a contract that big, and will concentrate on working around the 18 other unrestricted and six restricted free agents on their roster.

The biggest decisions the Steelers will face as far as the unrestricted free agents go involve cornerback Keenan Lewis - Wallace's teammate at O. Perry Walker High School in New Orleans - as well as utility offensive linemen Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster.

Lewis had an outstanding season and clearly will be the team's top priority. While Ike Taylor is as well-conditioned and adverse to injury as any cornerback in the game, the team invested heavily in the cornerback position recently, taking Lewis in the third round of the 2009 draft and Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown in the fourth and third rounds, respectively, of the 2011 draft. This was part of the youth movement at the position that now is coming due.

As far as Foster and Legursky, the value both of them have is high due to the massive amount of injuries the Steelers offensive line suffers each year. While the team cannot accurately predict injuries, they can't risk losing two interior offensive linemen with starting experience on their team.

Foster will likely be able to command starting money somewhere else, and odds of him resigning in Pittsburgh as a back-up are low. However, considering the injury history of left guard Willie Colon and right guard David DeCastro, the Steelers may see it wise to hang onto the four-year veteran.

Legursky can likely be retained on a relatively lower contract, and can fill in decently at center. While he's not a 16-game starter, he has the experience to be a fill-in option at a low price.

Quarterback will also be a position of intrigue. Both Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch started games this season for Ben Roethlisberger, and both were signed to one-year deals this season. The oft-injured Leftwich is a reasonable back-up option to one of the game's best passers, but the amount of injuries Roethlisberger has suffered over the past two seasons leads to questions whether Leftwich will be able to handle an extended starting role in the event Roethlisberger goes down.

Batch just turned 38, and could possibly have played the last game of his career. Considering the value of experience in preparing a starter to go under center, though, it seems likely one of them will be back in 2013. It wouldn't be surprising, though, to see the Steelers target a free agent for this position.

It wouldn't be surprising to see all of the Steelers' restricted free agents get an original round tender, if they get one at all. LB Stevenson Sylvester has battled injuries throughout his career, and much of his future with the team could be tied into the recovery of LB Sean Spence, who missed the 2013 season with a brutal knee injury suffered in the preseason.

While Mendenhall will likely walk, it's not a guarantee the Steelers sign either Isaac Redman or Jonathan Dwyer to an extension. Both should expect original round tender offers from the team though.

Steelers 2013 Unrestricted Free Agents

S Will Allen
QB Charlie Batch
WR Plaxico Burress
S Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith
LB Larry Foote
RG Ramon Foster

WR David Gilreath
NT Casey Hampton
CB Justin King
QB Byron Leftwich
OG Doug Legursky
CB Keenan Lewis

LB Marshall McFadden
RB Rashard Mendenhall
FS Ryan Mundy
TE Leonard Pope
LT Max Starks
NT Alameda Ta'amu
LS Greg Warren

Bold denotes players who started at least one game in 2012

Steelers 2013 Restricted Free Agents

RB Jonathan Dwyer
NT Steve McLendon
RB Issac Redman
WR Emmanuel Sanders
LB Stevenson Sylvester
CB Josh Victorian

Bold denotes players who started at least one game in 2012


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