The Pittsburgh Steelers are considered a team who is one or two players away from truly contending for a Super Bowl title. Coming off a season where they were in the AFC Championship game, most expected the team to be big players in free agency, and to compound those additions with solid draft picks to help load the team with talent as they look to maximize the best of Ben Roethlisberger’s final years of his career.
Instead, what fans of the black and gold have received is hardly any free agency movement, prospect players who come and leave without a contract and not a lot of traction elsewhere.
Let’s take a look at what has taken place this offseason, because the offseason hasn’t all been about free agency, and grade how the team has done thus far.
- Re-sign Antonio Brown to long-term contract
- Place franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell
- Re-sign Landry Jones to two-year contract
- Re-sign TE David Johnson
- Sign WR Justin Hunter to one-year contract
- Lawrence Timmons signs with the Miami Dolphins
- Markus Wheaton signs with the Chicago Bears
- Jarvis Jones signs with the Arizona Cardinals
Swings and misses:
- Davon House arrives, and signs with the Packers
- Dont’a Hightower leaves without a contract and signs with the Patriots
- LB Jay Elliott visits with Pittsburgh, only to leave and re-sign with Green Bay
It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Steelers find themselves still in need of help at key positions, like cornerback, inside linebacker, pass rusher and even running back, but seem to have waved the white flag in free agency when it comes to the team’s movement on the top tier talent on the free agent market.
So, what grade should the Steelers be given for what they have, or haven’t done, this offseason? I go into a much more in-depth explanation of my grading in the short podcast above, give it a listen!
I’m sure I will be highly criticized for this grade, but I just never saw the Steelers being big players in free agency. I never thought they had a legitimate chance at Hightower, nor did I think they needed him to win a Super Bowl. I will agree there were players they could have gone after more aggressively, but the team will put their focus on the NFL Draft, and there will be added pressure on them to hit some home runs with their 4 picks in the first three rounds. Oh, and don’t downplay locking up Antonio Brown long-term, and keeping Bell for at least the 2017 season as "just another move". Those two players, along with Roethlisberger make the team contenders by themselves.
So, what grade would you give the Steelers? Vote in the poll below, and be sure to explain yourself in the comment section!