Okay, so technically the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't make any official free agent acquisitions after the first day of free agency, but that doesn't mean the team wasn't active in the two-day period leading up to the new league year. In fact, the Steelers were extremely active in pursuing their own free agents, and were able to retain several for the foreseeable future.
It is time we look at the moves made, and give a grade on each:
Robert Golden signed to 3-year contract
The Pittsburgh Steelers were about to head into the 2016 season with just Mike Mitchell and Shamarko Thomas as the only safeties with experience under contract. With Robert Golden and Will Allen both moving into free agency, the team had to make a decision to retain one, and they chose Golden. Not only is Golden the younger, more athletic, of the pair, but his price tag was more than a hometown discount. Golden's deal never reaches even $2 million a year, keeping him in the Steel City at the right price.
Golden doesn't just add depth, but youth and experience in the Steelers' system. He played a bigger role in the defense in 2015, and is a locker room leader and Special Teams Captain.
Darrius Heyward-Bey signed to 3-year contract
Most assumed Darrius Heyward-Bey would be long gone when he hit free agency. Not because the Steelers didn't appreciate his efforts, but with the current stable of receivers, you had to wonder how anyone would break through such a stacked lineup. Nonetheless, Heyward-Bey has proven himself to be a very versatile player, and team leader in the locker room. In fact, Heyward-Bey proving he can be a valuable asset on special teams, as well as quality depth at wide receiver, likely helped him stay in Pittsburgh.
Like Golden, Heyward-Bey's deal is very friendly for the organization, and when asked why he chose to stay and not entertain other offers in free agency he simply said, "They believed in me."
William Gay signed to 3-year contract
Before sounding like a broken record, there is a reason these players didn't test free agent waters. Well, a couple reasons actually. One, they realize they have a good thing in Pittsburgh, and two, they are veterans who want to win a Super Bowl. The Steelers are primed for another postseason run in 2016 and beyond, and keeping players like Gay, the team's best defensive back in 2015, was a big step in the right direction.
Losing Brandon Boykin or Antwon Blake won't be a crushing blow to the organization, but losing defensive captain William Gay would have been crushing. Luckily, we won't have to worry about that, and Gay's contract peaks at $2 million dollars in the second year. Yes, another hometown discount contract.
Ramon Foster signed to 3-year contract
What's the deal with all these three-year contracts?! Who cares, right? The Steelers have very poor depth at the guard position, and signing Foster to a new contract took major strides in keeping their offensive line mostly intact. Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Marcus Gilbert will all be back in 2016, and there is still a chance Kelvin Beachum could sign a short-term deal with the team. Nonetheless, bringing back the team's most durable lineman was a huge part of the team's plans moving forward.
Why did he decide to forego free agency and stay? Foster said Ben Roethlisberger was a large reason why, and advice to not "chase the check". Oh, and the Steelers might just have the best offense in the NFL next season probably had something to do with it too.
Overall, the Steelers were very active, and the coming days could see the team making more moves within the organization, as well as bringing in outside free agents. If the Steelers could have signed Steve McLendon or Beachum prior to free agency, the team would have gotten an overall grade of an A+ for Day 1, but instead they will have to settle.