San Diego Chargers running back Mike Tolbert was on SiriusXM NFL Radio this morning to talk with host Adam Schein and Rich Gannon about his upcoming free agent status. Tolbert, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent late Tuesday, mentioned early on in the interview that that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Steelers are two teams that will be on his radar. Tolbert did however say later on in the interview that he and his agent have sat down to list several teams where he thought he would be a fit and that list included the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins also as good fits for him. He was asked about the New York Jets and while he did not rule them out, he said he was not one that likes the media circus that surrounds them. Tolbert was also asked about the money he would command and admitted he would like to hit the big pay day, but ultimately it will come down to his market value and what he and his agent deem as fair.
While Tolbert listed the Steelers as a good fit, which he probably would be, he figures to be player that will get a lot of attention once the free agency period begins Tuesday evening. The Steelers are not a team to over pay for a free agent, especially a running back free agent, and are never big players with the bigger named guys early on in the period. So logic tells you that he will not likely be landing with the Steelers. The Steelers will have very limited cap space available to them once the free agency period begins and running back is not a huge need as Kevin Colbert has pointed out in a few previous interviews leading up to this point, and with good reason. Should by some miracle Tolbert end up in Pittsburgh, it would certainly signal the end for former first round draft pick Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall is slated to start the season on the PUP list with no guarantees attached to him as to when he would be recovered enough to contribute in 2012. The PUP list alone means he is guaranteed to miss at least the first 6 weeks of the season. He is also slated to be an unrestricted free agent himself following the 2012 season.
It sounds like great posturing right now by Tolbert to name as many teams as he can that would be a good fit for him as free agency looms, but in the end I just can\’t see Pittsburgh as a realistic landing spot unless he receives a lukewarm reception during the first week or so of the signing period.