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Looking at the Free Agent pool at key positions for the Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have plenty of holes to fill at key positions, so let’s take a look at the free agent pool at those spots.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Washington Football Team Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the start of the legal tampering period on March 14th, and the new league year to kickoff on March 16th, with a new outlook on the offseason. The new outlook would stem from the team having more salary cap space than they’ve ever had, roughly $29 million dollars, since Kevin Colbert took over duties as the team’s General Manager (GM).

What will the team do with all their funds? And how will they address the many needs they have on their roster? It depends which position you are talking about. Bill Barnwell of ESPN recently gave the free agent pool for several key positions of need for the Steelers. He categorized these positions in the following categories:

  • Stars
  • Starters
  • Regulars
  • Returning From Injury
  • Possible Cap Casualties

Equipped with money to spend, take a look at the players in the following positions, and try and play GM for the Steelers. You can’t afford all super stars, but you can still piece together players who will make the team’s roster better.

Positions highlighted:

  • Cornerback
  • Safety
  • Offensive Tackle
  • Offensive Guard
  • Quarterback

Let’s see who will be available to sign...

Cornerbacks

Stars (2): Carlton Davis (Buccaneers), J.C. Jackson (Patriots)

Starters (7): Stephon Gilmore (Panthers), Joe Haden (Steelers), Casey Hayward Jr. (Raiders), Steven Nelson (Eagles), Patrick Peterson (Vikings), Levi Wallace (Bills), Charvarius Ward (Chiefs)

Regulars (12): Robert Alford (Cardinals), Bryce Callahan (Broncos), Justin Coleman (Dolphins), Kyle Fuller (Broncos), Chris Harris Jr. (Chargers), Donte Jackson (Panthers), Desmond King (Texans), Xavier Rhodes (Colts), Richard Sherman (49ers), Darious Williams (Rams), K’Waun Williams (49ers), P.J. Williams (Saints)

Returning from injury (1): Jason Verrett (49ers)

Possible cap casualties (4): Byron Jones (Dolphins), Bradley Roby (Saints), Trae Waynes (Bengals)

  • The Steelers being able to retain Ahkello Witherspoon will certainly help them address the need at cornerback, but losing Joe Haden could equate in the team trying to make a splash. If they were somehow able to re-sign Witherspoon and add someone like Stephon Gilmore it would completely change the way the cornerback position is viewed heading into 2022.

Safeties

Stars (1): Tyrann Mathieu (Chiefs)

Starters (6): Terrell Edmunds (Steelers), Devin McCourty (Patriots), Justin Reid (Texans), Jaquiski Tartt (49ers), Marcus Williams (Saints), Xavier Woods (Vikings)

Regulars (8): Duron Harmon (Falcons), Anthony Harris (Eagles), Kareem Jackson (Broncos), Damontae Kazee (Cowboys), Jayron Kearse (Cowboys), D.J. Reed (Seahawks), Daniel Sorensen (Chiefs), Jordan Whitehead (Buccaneers),

Returning from injury (3): Quandre Diggs (Seahawks), Marcus Maye (Jets), Jabrill Peppers (Giants)

Possible cap casualties (4): Landon Collins (Commanders), Eddie Jackson (Bears), Eric Murray (Texans), Logan Ryan (Giants)

  • Seeing the Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu, in black and gold would be pretty incredible, but as I stated earlier, you can’t have all the stars on these lists. Re-signing Terrell Edmunds makes the most sense for the team, but if they don’t bring back their former first round pick there are plenty of attractive, and cheaper, options to solidify the back end of the secondary.

Offensive tackle

Stars (1): Terron Armstead (Saints)

Starters (4): Duane Brown (Seahawks), Trent Brown (Patriots), Eric Fisher (Colts), Morgan Moses (Jets)

Regulars (2): Germain Ifedi (Bears), Cam Robinson (Jaguars)

Returning from injury (2): Chris Hubbard (Browns), Riley Reiff (Bengals)

Possible cap casualties (3): Bryan Bulaga (Chargers), Halapoulivaati Vaitai (Lions), Billy Turner (Packers)

  • For as deep as cornerback and safety are in free agency, the offensive line help is pretty thin. There is also talk of Eric Fisher of the Colts hitting the open market which will bolster this position group. There are players to be had, but not as many as other positions.

Guard

Stars (1): Brandon Scherff (Commanders)

Starters (2): Alex Cappa (Buccaneers), James Daniels (Bears)

Regulars (9): Austin Corbett (Rams), Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (Jets), Mark Glowinski (Colts), Will Hernandez (Giants), Andrew Norwell (Jaguars), Lucas Patrick (Packers), Quinton Spain (Bengals), Laken Tomlinson (49ers), Trai Turner (Steelers)

Returning from injury (2): A.J. Cann (Jaguars), Richie Incognito (Raiders)

Possible cap casualties (1): Ereck Flowers (Commanders)

  • When Trai Turner is listed as a regular, that should tell you what you need to know about the guards available on the open market.

Quarterback

Stars (0)

Starters (0)

Regulars (4): Andy Dalton (Bears), Marcus Mariota (Raiders), Mitchell Trubisky (Bills), Tyrod Taylor (Texans)

Returning from injury (3): Teddy Bridgewater (Broncos), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Commanders), Jameis Winston (Saints)

Possible cap casualties (0)

  • If you thought offensive tackle and guard were thin, then prepare yourself for the thinnest free agent pool of them all — quarterback. Not a good year to have to replace your signal caller and expect to do so in free agency or the NFL Draft.

So, time to play GM. Of those positions, which players are you able to get, being realistic, with the money available to the Steelers. Remember the team can’t spend all their money on free agents, needing to keep money back for the draft class, injured players, etc. Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold this offseason.