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Still waiting for an impact from Steelers free agency class of 2014

The money was spent, and it wasn't high-end money, for the Steelers to revamp their defense and provide a base of pass protection for the future. It isn't quite working that way right now.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

It was more about the activity rather than the treasure collected. In the span of a week, the Steelers had released outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley and signed free safety Mike Mitchell, which led to the natural conclusion the Steelers were moving on from Ryan Clark (who admitted as much via Twitter just minutes after the announcement of Mitchell's signing). Ex-Chargers defensive linemen Cam Thomas followed suit not long after the Titans upped the Steelers' offer to Al Woods.

Mitchell's potential was intriguing, and the cap space Woodley would eventually provide was exciting. Change does that to a team and its fan base. The Steelers just haven't seen any kind of return on that investment yet.

Alan Robinson of the Tribune Review brings up this point in Monday's edition, stating it's too early to make a broad-sweeping opinion that it was money poorly spent. He also throws in the extensions given to cornerback Cortez Allen, right tackle Marcus Gilbert and kicker Shaun Suisham - the only one of the three to have lived up to his extension so far.

But with the exception of Suisham, none of the aforementioned players are providing compelling evidence to write glowing reviews of their play either. It is perhaps too early to render a lasting judgment, but it's certainly fair to point out Mitchell, Thomas, Allen and Gilbert have been below board to this point, and the team's run defense (Thomas and Mitchell), playmaking ability on defense (Allen and Mitchell) and pass protection (Gilbert) have all struggled through two games this season.

The optimistic way to view the situation is the Steelers have only played two games, and those two games were played less than five days apart. It may be too early to panic but the pressure is going to be ratcheted up, considering they're on the road again in primetime in Week 3 (at Carolina) and then back home in Week 4 to take on a similarly desperate and rebuilding Buccaneers team.

Any contributions these players might provide to bring the team to 3-1 over that stretch would be fantastically appreciated and would certainly get things moving in a positive direction.

In fact, with a quality Panthers team on deck, any contributions at all would be most welcome.