It was announced yesterday that the Steelers reached a 5-year, $25 million dollar contract with ex-Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell.
The response of several fans probably went something like this. "First of all, who is Mike Mitchell? Second, again who is Mike Mitchell? Why are we paying him $5 million a year? That’s an absolute boat load of cash. Weren’t we after that Star Wars sounding fellow who played cornerback for the Titans?
Is this what it has come to, throwing cash at a 15th tier safety whilst the rest of the league laughs on and Al Davis’s ghost bobs his head approvingly? Look at all those quality names out there still available, and we’ve spent $5 million a year on….what’s his name again?"
Fear not Steelers fans, we have not become the Oakland Raiders, or the Cleveland Browns. This was not spending for the sake of spending, or an inability to successfully entice the big name free agents.
First of all, as detailed by SteelCityRoller, this is a very team-friendly deal in terms of its structure. The guaranteed money is low, meaning if things were to go poorly the Steelers could cut Mitchell and move on without incurring a large portion of dead money on their cap. In addition it is structured so that the Steelers essentially have two full years to decide whether Mitchell is worth keeping, if not they can cut him before they have to pay him anything substantial. The Steelers are largely covered against any blowback on the contract. If Mitchell does become a productive contributor by the time he reaches the third year of the deal then the Steelers would be him paying around $6 million a year from that point on, a reasonable sum.
Furthermore, that the Steelers pursued Mitchell in itself indicates that they have signed a quality player. It stands to reason that GM Kevin Colbert, HC Mike Tomlin and the teams coordinators (namely Dick LeBeau and Carnell Lake) were all involved in the evaluating and decision making process. As previously stated, there was a wealth of targets available on the market with the Steelers projected price range, however they decided to sign Mike Mitchell.
Colbert has not been known to miss often, if ever in free agency, and Dick LeBeau’s credentials speak for themselves. They have clearly evaluated Mike Mitchell and decided he is a talented safety who has the ability to help this team for years to come, and as such have gone out and secured his talents in a team friendly contract.
Given the pedigree of the Front Office and their past successes, trusting their judgement would seem the smart thing to do.
In short, Mike Mitchell is a good signing because the Steelers Front Office say he is.