We mentioned Day 3 of free agency for the Steelers was like the Empire Strikes Back - the downtrodden movie of the original Star Wars trilogy. It was meant to hint that the big celebratory day (Return of the Jedi) was coming soon.
Day 4 was probably more like one of the terrible prequel movies. I forget which one because none of them are memorable.
That was an easy joke to make. You've come to expect easy jokes. You've also probably come to expect the Steelers signing former players back to its roster, like it did last night when news came out they have signed free agent TE Matt Spaeth to a contract.
At the risk of continuing the theme of jokes, this is similar to what I told Giants fans about their new safety, Ryan Mundy. If this signing takes place in July, when optimism is the highest it will be all year for every team, people are probably excited. The fact it happens in the midst of a time where big money and big names are flying everywhere, a name like Spaeth or Mundy doesn't exactly blow back the hair of collective SteelerNation.
When taken in conjunction with news that WR Emmanuel Sanders has an offer from the Patriots in restricted free agency, Day 4 of free agency may seem a bit, ya know, bad. But it has its upside.
No one expects Matt Spaeth to waltz into town, catch 60 passes for 900 yards and eight touchdowns. But what the Steelers have been doing is bringing in players they know; they understand what they're going to get from Matt Spaeth. And William Gay. And Larry Foote and Ramon Foster.
These aren't overly expensive players, but they're foundation kinds of guys.
The plan is clearly in motion here, but it will be topped off by a successful draft to find a new young nucleus of the team. Throw out 2008, this team will draft its future, starting in April.