The Steelers continue to fill their off-season roster with free agent prospects, signing two new players today. Both will be competing for jobs at their respective positions against established incumbents.
Hrapmann was in Latrobe in 2012, competing with Shaun Suisham for placekicking duties. Hrapmann made all six of his field goal attempts, including a game winner against the Indianapolis Colts in the second week of the preseason. In the end, Suisham retained his starting job. Hrapmann was unemployed and remained unsigned the rest of the year.
Hrapmann will be given another chance to change the mind of the Steelers coaching staff and front office. While on the field he will be competing against Suisham once again, assisting Hrapmann this time will be Suisham's own contract.
Suisham had arguably his best season as a professional kicker, missing only three field goals all season. Two of his misses were 53+ yards, which are toss-ups no matter who is kicking them. The third miss came on a rare bad snap by normally reliable longsnapper Greg Warren, and failed recovery and hold by rookie punter Drew Butler. Every other kick was usually right down the middle.
Hrapmann will need to outperform Suisham enough to invoke enough confidence in Kevin Colbert and Omar Khan to view Suisham as a cap space saving cut option. Suisham has two years remaining on his contract, both scheduled for base salaries of over $1.4 million. Hrapmann's futures contract would pay $405,000. The Steelers will be needing every extra penny in 2013, to comply with the salary cap.
Pianalto, a former North Carolina Tar Heel, began his career as an undrafted signee by the Buffalo Bills in 2011. One day after officially making the opening day 53-man roster, he was waived. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers claimed him, for whom he recorded his career NFL statistics of four catches for 40 yards. The 23 year old, 6-foot-5 250 pound tight end will be competing with David Paulson and Jamie McCoy for roster spots. The Steelers will need depth at the position, with Heath Miller sure to miss at least a portion of the season.
Both Hrapmann and Pianalto were signed to futures/reserves contracts, as will many more players before training camp opens.