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Steelers free agency: A look at what's next after the first two days

The Steelers still have extension opportunities and targets to sign in free agency now that the first two days have ended.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers have roughly $7.5 million in cap space for 2015 before they make any kind of move on veteran safety Troy Polamalu. It isn't expected the Steelers keep Polamalu, and his retirement would create an additional $3.75 million in cap space.

The Steelers will need - after displacement - approximately $1.7 million on this year's cap to sign their draft class, so the bottom line is there is space available.

Not that there are any high-level free agents left, but there are still a few moves they could make.


Ben Roethlisberger - This will come eventually, and the confirmation of a few moves being made and a few players not coming back in 2015 give a clearer roster picture for the Steelers. An extension for their quarterback appears on the horizon.

Cameron Heyward - It's less likely than Roethlisberger's, but this isn't a player the team should want to be in position to either be tagged or head into free agency. Any feet-dragging toward a long-term deal may be to Heyward's benefit, waiting for players like Mo Wilkerson to set the market for a 3-4 defensive end.


Troy Polamalu - The team didn't need an immediate decision from Polamalu but he's not going to get a ton more time either. Retirement or release saves $3.75 million, while taking on $4.5 million in dead money. Post-June 1 release saves $6 million on June 2, and puts $2.25 million dead this year and next.

Cam Thomas - Cutting Thomas saves $2 million which would likely need to be spent on a free agent veteran defensive lineman who may not know the scheme. As much as Steeler Nation thirsts for the blood of Thomas after a subpar year, his release won't save much of anything - they'll likely bring in another veteran who will be thrust into competition immediately. There just isn't much to gain. Remember Alex Carrington? More on him in a minute.

Potential free agent targets

RB DeAngelo Williams - If nothing else, the ex-Panthers running back will be treated to what's supposed to be a beautiful, Spring-like day here in Pittsburgh on Friday. He'll visit, and he should be considered a good possibility of playing for the Steelers next season. That's based on the fact the team is talking to him, and the converse to that is the team wanting to get him in to be evaluated by their doctors. He missed the majority of the Panthers' 2014 season due to hamstring, ankle and hand injuries.

CB Patrick Robinson - Overall, he'd be a solid counter move to the loss of Brice McCain. The Steelers would like to get him on the same kind of deal they got McCain last year, but Robinson's 75.4 passer rating against in 2014 may drive his value up a bit higher. Either way, he's a solid option.

OLB Brian Orakpo - While the Steelers tend to stay away from other teams' medical issues - and Orakpo's headline right now reads something like "injury-prone" - he is still unsigned, suggesting his market value isn't quite what he hoped it would be. Unlikely, but maybe worth a look on a short deal.

TE Jordan Cameron - The Dolphins would rather have Charles Clay, but as they look to lose him, Cameron is a good option there. He'd get significantly better opportunities in Pittsburgh with such a powerful offense already in place. Lining up Cameron and Heath Miller with Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant on the field is dreamy.

CB Chris Culliver - Good size, scheme-familiar and he turns 27 in August. Probably a reach for the Steelers as well, but bringing him on the outside and moving William Gay inside on passing downs would be an upgrade in a sense. McCain was one of the better slot corners in the league last year, but Culliver is better on the outside, and Gay on the inside isn't a big step down. Overall, it'd be a stronger unit.

DE Alex Carrington - The subject of so much speculation in last year's free agency class and the Steelers, Carrington sat out the team's final seven games. He's being shown here as an example of what's on the free agency market in terms of a replacement for Cam Thomas, who's highest value to the team right now just may be his lack of injury history. The price difference between the two would be minimal.