In quick succession, and on the first day of this weird early preview of Free Agency, two potential targets for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the form of Red Bryant and Sam Shields have agreed to terms with other teams.
Red Bryant (29 years old) was drafted by the Seahawks in the 4th round of the 2008 draft, and has played 6 seasons amassing 120 tackles, 4 sacks and one Super Bowl ring. He was also the teams defensive captain for the past two seasons.
Bryant might have been pursued as a 5-technique defensive end , a position of need for the Steelers, however as of yesterday he has agreed to a 4 year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The move does not come as a surprise, as the Head Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Gus Bradley, was also defensive coordinator with the Seahawks for four of Bryant's six seasons there, and the two reportedly have a great relationship.
Shields (26 years old) went undrafted out of college in 2010 and signed with the Packers. In his four year career he has 163 tackles and 13 interceptions. It had been reported that Shields was going to test free agency so the news has came as a mild surprise. However it is a win-win for both sides, as the Packers retain a quality DB and Shields gets a lucrative payday.
Both players, and in particular Shields, would have made great signings for the Steelers. But regardless of what happens with Ike Taylor, it would not be a surprise to see the Steelers pursue another cornerback on the market, and perhaps a quality signing along the Defensive Line. As it stands both positions lack depth and quality heading toward the 2014 NFL Draft.