The Pittsburgh Steelers hit free agency hard last year, bringing in a handful of veteran players to earn starting roles and improve depth.
Here is a position-by-position look at the Steelers depth chart going into this year's March 10 start of free agency.
PITTSBURGH -- The running backs room was bolstered through free agency last year when LeGarrette Blount was signed. While few would argue that he needed to be released, that left a void that will need to be filled again -- the role of veteran running back to back up budding superstar Le'Veon Bell.
What a second-round find - just what the Steelers needed since Jerome Bettis retired. It's been a decade in the making, about the same amount of time it took the Steelers to replace Franco Harris with the Bus.
Bell appears to be every bit as good a player. Obviously, it remains to be seen if he'll have a Hall-of-Fame career like Harris and Bettis, but his early numbers are staggering. Just this season alone, the 22-year-old Bell practically rewrote the Steelers record book for total yardage. With 1,361 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, along with 83 receptions for 854 yards and another three scores, Bell earned first-team All-Pro and team MVP honors.
He also remained humble. Not an easy task -- just look at Marshawn Lynch, by comparison. Bell's rookie contract makes him a bargain, a base salary at $779,600 with a cap hit of $1.2 million, and there are two years remaining. A renegotiation is on the horizon, but not yet. Once he gets past the game or two suspension this year from the league, Bell should be off and running once again.
But who will back him up for the Steelers?
Unrestricted free agent Ben Tate would be a perfect veteran backup, if that's what he wants to do, but then there's those pesky attitude and character problems that he's been known for throughout his career. He should be on another team. Not the Steelers. So, someone else needs to be signed.
Rookies Josh Harris and Dri Archer have potential and are under contract for two and three more seasons, respectively, but their resumes are not enough to go on. Harris appears to be talented, but needs game experience. Archer was a huge disappointment. He couldn't stay healthy, and when he was, he couldn't do anything -- 63 total yards. That's a bust as a third-round pick.
Since no running backs were signed to future contracts, the Steelers likely will sign a veteran through free agency, and maybe use a late-round draft pick on one as well.