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Steelers free agent TE Jesse James agrees to a deal with Lions

The Steelers look to have lost their first free agent if the offseason and news of a deal between tight end Jesse James and the Detroit Lions emerged on Monday.

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

With the start of the pre free agency “legal tampering period” on Monday, most of the more highly sought after names will have been snapped up well before the start of the new league year on Wednesday March 13. And while the Pittsburgh Steelers are unlikely to be especially active in the first few days, it would appear that one of their unrestricted free agents has already been signed by another team.

As per Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, tight end Jesse James has become the first of the Steelers impending free agents to find a new home this offseason.

James arrived in Pittsburgh as fifth-round draft pick in 2015 and was effectively the Steelers starter by default throughout much of his career thanks to injuries to Ladarius Green and Vance McDonald ahead of him in the lineup.

In four years as a member of the Black and Gold, James recorded 120 receptions for 1,189 yards and nine touchdowns, but might be best remembered for his touchdown than never was in a game against the New England Patriots in Week 15 of the 2017 season.

Signing with the Lions so early in free agency would seem to suggest that Detroit were willing to offer James a sizeable contract, and likely far more than he would ever have received from the Steelers.