The Pittsburgh Steelers are a franchise built around the draft. They believe drafting players is the key to future success, not being big players in free agency. This isn’t to suggest the Steelers haven’t been players in free agency, they have, but not every swing has produced a home run.
For every James Farrior and Kevin Greene there have been several swing-and-misses.
I decided to pick the 10 worst free agent signings in franchise history and compile a list. To be honest, this list is so bad I couldn’t put them in any type of Top 10 order. Instead, I just list them with a short explanation and let you decipher who was worst in the comment section below.
Okay, deep breathe, here we go...
Mahan was supposed to be the Steelers’ next center after Jeff Hartings decided to call it a career after Super Bowl XL. Instead, Mahan saw his time in Pittsburgh end abruptly with the Steelers and Just Hartwig came in to replace him in 2008. Hartwig wasn’t much better, and could be on the list, but at least he won a Super Bowl. Drafting Maurkice Pouncey has made both of these players obsolete.
Moore was the classic free agent addition at wide receiver where you hope to just get at least one solid season out of a veteran. It just never panned out that way. Moore did more complaining than play making, and his most memorable moments with the Steelers were his hot pink socks during breast cancer awareness month. That touchdown you remember of Moore was actually a pass thrown by Antonio Brown, not Ben Roethlisberger.
Ah yes, one of the many quarterbacks who were charged with leading the Steelers between the Bradshaw and Ben era. Graham spent just the 2000 season with the Steelers, starting 5 games, before Kordell Stewart took over. In his lone season in Pittsburgh Graham had more forgettable moments than memorable ones.
With the Steelers needing an offensive tackle, they picked up Jonathan Scott after a year spent with the Buffalo Bills. Scott spent two seasons in Pittsburgh, seasons where he resembled a turnstile more than an offensive tackle. Scott would go on to play a year with the Chicago Bears and finish up with the Atlanta Falcons before calling it a career.
I hated putting Green on the list, because the injuries he sustained certainly his fault. His battles with concussions were difficult, but the Steelers bringing him in after his start with the San Diego Chargers knowing his ankle issues are what makes this a bad signing. His ankle issues kept him off the field for all of training camp, and when he was able to return a concussion essentially ended his career after just six games with the Steelers. He was brimming with potential too...
Cam Thomas was a signing where most fans saw a veteran who signed for cheap and could help along the defensive line. What fans saw on the field was a defensive linemen who looked like he was trying to rush the passer/stop the run while on roller skates. He shockingly spent two seasons in Pittsburgh before stints with the Rams and Chiefs to end his career.
Colquitt has family ties with the Steelers, considering his father was a Super Bowl winning kicker for the black and gold, and when the Steelers picked up Colquitt prior to the 2020 season fans rejoiced at the thought of finally dismissing Jordan Berry. The Colquitt resume was strong, but his leg wasn’t. His kicks in just 5 games were labeled as “JV” by Mike Tomlin, and his release resulted in Berry returning to the Steelers.
Similar to Ladarius Green, Burnett was consistently bitten by the injury bug during his lone season with the Steelers. Burnett was supposed to be a do-it-all safety, but his constantly being on the shelf resulted in rookie Terrell Edmunds seeing the field more often than ever expected. With Edmunds proving capable, Burnett’s time with the Steelers was extremely short-lived, and forgettable.
When it comes to a signing which fans were extremely excited about, but blew in their faces, Blount would certainly be near the top, or at the top, of the list. Blount and Le’Veon Bell were supposed to be a one-two punch the organization has never seen. After Blount and Bell’s antics off the field got things off in a sour fashion, Blount was a disgruntled employee. Maybe the Steelers told him he would be a bigger part of the offense, or maybe Blount just thought he would be more than an insurance policy. Either way, the end result was Blount storming off the field after a huge win in Tennessee and being released shortly after. Don’t worry, Blount re-signed with the New England Patriots and won a Super Bowl that year.
Similar to Blount, when the Steelers signed Moncrief they thought they were getting a potential game-changer. Instead, they saw one of the worst opening starts with a team in team history. Moncrief had a decent NFL career before coming to Pittsburgh, but from the moment he stepped onto the field in the preseason it went from bad to worse. Dropped passes, fumbles and being benched were the highlights of his time with the Steelers. Moncrief didn’t even make it a full season, rather just sat on the bench until the Steelers had to cut him due to compensatory pick purposes.
Did I miss someone? Is there someone you think shouldn’t be on the list? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.