For those true Pittsburgh Steelers fans, you might think this recap is nothing more than a joke. After all, the Steelers never really participate in NFL Free Agency. This also isn’t a joke considering 90-percent of the moves were made well before the start of the new league year on March 14th.
However, the Steelers did make some moves, most going as planned...kind of.
Shortly after 4 p.m. ET, when the new league year started, the team announced the official release of William Gay and Mike Mitchell, but there was a third player released, and that was none other than Robert Golden.
When all was said and done, the moves gave the team roughly $7 million dollars in salary cap space.
Sure, these moves are not the high profile variety, and mostly anticipated, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t extremely telling. The Steelers are not just freeing up salary cap space, but are also fully committed to rebuilding the back half of the secondary.
Just look at the team’s depth chart at safety with Golden and Mitchell gone:
Sean Davis (SS)
J.J. Wilcox (SS)
That’s it. Other than those four players, two of which have very little or no NFL experience under their belt, the cupboard is bare and ready to be filled.
With that said, the team hasn’t released Wilcox for a reason. To fans it doesn’t make sense. Wilcox played early, was relegated to special teams duty and finished the year benched. Certainly has to mean he will be gone, right? Not necessarily.
The coaches, particularly new defensive backs coach Tom Bradley, must like something they see in Wilcox. What they probably see is a Strong Safety who is better suited to load the box and hit, rather than cover in space. Making this type of switch would mean Sean Davis would have to leave his Strong Safety post and become the next Free Safety for the team.
Is he capable? There is no NFL tape to convince me either way, but if the team trusts it, it is hard for me to disagree with their judgement.
What can fans expect on Day 2 of free agency? This is typically when the Steelers might release another player(s), or announce they have re-signed one of their own free agents. Rumors may swirl, but the team is rarely busy bringing in outside free agents this early in the process. Rather, they sit back and let other teams jump at the first wave of free agents, and the Steelers will go after a few prospects in the second wave.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest on the Steelers free agent news, notes and rumors.