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 -- Along with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back Le'Veon Bell, wideout Antonio Brown was among the Steelers biggest offensive weapons. His numbers make him one of the best in the league as well.
So, it's a good thing the Steelers chose to sign him and let Mike Wallace move on. It's also good that Emmanuel Sanders left in free agency, and Markus Wheaton was given a chance to play. Along with rookie Martavus Bryant, the Steelers have an extremely explosive and productive wideout corps.
Brown is the unquestioned leader. While some might see a brash performer, Brown is considered to be among the hardest-working Steelers. He routinely stays after practice, catching passes and honing his craft. Brown might be small in stature, but he is an exceptional athlete and big-time player.
Brown tallied 129 receptions for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns, despite seeing double coverage on a regular basis. He's worth every penny of what the Steelers are paying him, although his cap hit is extensive at $9.79 million this year and $12.04 in 2016 and '17. So, he has three years remaining.
With another big season, Wheaton could get a big payday as well. Injuries and depth limited his play as a rookie in 2013, but Wheaton broke out with 53 catches for 644 yards and two touchdowns. Expect all three numbers to increase this season, especially the yardage and scoring, as Wheaton continues to grow as a receiver. He played in all 16 games last year and had 11 starts after missing four games in 2013 and starting just once.
Wheaton has two years left on his rookie contract, while fourth-round pick last year -- Bryant -- is signed through 2017. So, the receiving corps is in pretty good shape after entering 2014 with many questions. Bryant was a big-play threat at 21.1 yards per catch and eight touchdowns (26 catches for 549 yards), but by the end of the season his route-running and confidence improved greatly. His catches and yardage should increase as well.
The remainder of the Steelers receiving corps is fluid, however, as Lance Moore (14 catches, 198 yards, two touchdowns), Darrius Heyward-Bey (3, 33) and Justin Brown (12, 94) could all be gone. Brown already has signed with the Buffalo Bills, and Moore surprisingly was not used at the end of the season and in the playoff game. Heyward-Bey was a solid special teams player, and that's the only value he has for the Steelers right now.
So, any additional receivers who make the Steelers roster this year will be young and inexperienced, unless the club signs one in free agency. Rookies Brelan Chancellor from North Texas (5-foot-8, 188 pounds), C.J. Goodwin from Cal, Pa. (6-3, 190) and L'Damian Washington from Missouri (6-4, 200) signed future contracts with the Steelers after last season.