With a heartbreaking loss now nearly water under the bridge, the Steelers focused shifts to the offseason. While player contracts, the draft and the salary cap all huge issues on the minds of fans and the Pittsburgh brass, another facet of offseason preparations is an interesting proposition; free agency.
Typically, the Steelers are a relatively quiet team in free agency, for years opting to build their team via the draft, with some of the top Pittsburgh talents being home-grown products of good drafting.
This year's crop of free agents certainly has some big names, with players such as Demarco Murray, Demaryius Thomas and Randall Cobb all eligible to become unrestricted free agents, but it's a lesser known talent who the Steelers would be wise to target this March; Seahawks CB Byron Maxwell.
Maxwell, despite strong play, has been lost in the fray of the talented Seattle "Legion of Boom" headlined by All-Pro CB Richard Sherman and the best pair of safeties in the league, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. If the Seattle secondary was the Beatles, Maxwell could probably be compared to George Harrison.
As a member of the most talented pass defense in there league, Maxwell has experience playing a variety of positions, as the six-foot-one Clemson standout has played in nickel packages guarding the slot receivers, and his size and speed allow him to matchup on the outside.
It's possible the Seahawks will resign Maxwell, but given their looming cap issues with the need to resign players such as Bobby Wagner and Russel Wilson, it's not unlikely Seattle allows Maxwell to walk, especially with the likes of Sherman and the talented T.J. Lane and Tharold Simon waiting in the fray. With Ben Roethlisberger apparently willing to rework his contract and some likely cuts coming (looking at you Cortez Allen) the Steelers should have some extra cap room to make a move.
As Christopher Carter pointed out, the Steelers have been mocked Michigan State's standout CB Trae Waynes, which given the suspect pass defense from the Pittsburgh secondary this season, is an obvious selection. If the Steelers were able to sign Maxwell and draft Waynes, Pittsburgh would find itself with a pair of defensive backs capable of becoming the best duo since Ike Taylor and Deshea Townsend.
Maxwell is still only 26 and his size, speed and ability to line up at multiple positions make him one of the most interesting defensive backs in the NFL. With a glaring, obvious need at corner, the Steelers would make a splash by making a run at the talented Seahawks defender.