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Steelers should follow Broncos lead, look to free agency to add missing pieces of the puzzle

The Pittsburgh Steelers aren't typically big players in free agency, and although they won't be again this year, they should consider a player or two who could help fill some gaps on the 2016 roster.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The world just got done watching the Denver Broncos dismantle the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50, and when looking at the John Elway constructed roster, one thing you can't ignore is how free agency has shaped their defense into the NFL's top ranked unit.

As the Pittsburgh Steelers watched Denver win their third Super Bowl, the Pittsburgh front office would be wise to learn something about their defense, and how it was assembled. You see players like DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib who were all brought in as free agents and were big time players on the Broncos 2015 championship team.

The Steelers defense certainly has some gaps, and the team's reliance on the draft, especially on defense, has equated to a team with either inexperience or ineffectiveness at several positions. Could the Steelers follow the Broncos' lead and look to free agency to fill some of those holes? Absolutely, but the team's salary cap situation remains dire.

Unlike the Broncos before acquiring the aforementioned players, the Steelers find themselves smack up against the cap, which is nothing new for those people who follow the team. This simple financial truth will eliminate many players from considering the Steelers as a potential landing spot, but there is one factor which could lure some prospect to the Steel City. That factor? The chance of winning a Super Bowl.

Don't think for a second T.J. Ward didn't see the writing on the wall as a member of the Cleveland Browns. He wanted to win. The same could be said about Ware with the Dallas Cowboys. Many players, especially those entering their golden years of their careers, will take less money for the chance to win a Super Bowl, and in 2016 the Steelers will be primed for another postseason run.

There is a common misconception among Steelers fans in regards to the Steelers activity, or lack thereof, via free agency. There is some truth to the statement of the Steelers not being big players in free agency, but there is also plenty of information which states the polar opposite viewpoint.

Do the Steelers go out and get big-name free agents? No, they don't, but do you really want the team to be chasing down Albert Haynesworth and such ilk? The answer to that should be no, but the Steelers have always made very calculated and intelligent moves in free agency -- contrary to what the common fan might think.

Players like Ryan Clark, James Farrior, Jeff Hartings, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Mike Mitchell are all great examples of players who came to the team to fill a void. The void could have been through leadership or bridging a gap needed on the field, but their importance was felt throughout the organization.

As Free Agency is set to begin in early March, the Steelers should look on the open market to help with some key positions on the field, and potentially put this team over the top in their chase for Super Bowl No. 7. Cornerback, safety, defensive line and a versatile offensive linemen should all be considered, but one thing is certain, the team should look no further than the current Super Bowl champions as a blue print for how to take a good team, and make them great with some key moves in free agency.