The Pittsburgh Steelers offseason is in full swing now and we will continue on with our breakdown of the free agents as we inch closer towards the start of free agency. Next up on the list of unrestricted free agents is quarterback Byron Leftwich.
Player: Byron Leftwich
Experience: 9 Years
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2012 Salary Cap Hit: $605,000.00
2012 Season Breakdown: Leftwich, much like Charlie Batch, returned to the Steelers in 2012 on a one-year qualifying contract that came with a reduced salary cap hit. The now 33 year-old veteran started the season as the backup to Ben Roethlisberger and did not see action until the Steelers starter went down with his shoulder and rib injury in the Week 10 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Leftwich looked very rusty upon entering the game and didn\’t appear to be on the same page with his receivers in addition. He finished the game 7-of-14 for 73 yards, but did not throw an interception. He did, however, lead the offense on an 11 play drive that resulted in a field goal and it included a 31 yard completion to Emmanuel Sanders on third down and long from the Steelers own 15 yard-line. The Steelers escaped the game with an overtime win which gave Leftwich the opportunity to start the following week against the Baltimore Ravens.
Against the Ravens Leftwich got things off to a great start by scrambling down the right sideline for 31 yards to give the Steelers an opening drive lead. However, while tumbling into the end zone Leftwich appeared to injure his right shoulder, but did manage to stay in the game. He finished the game with a dismal 18-of-39 performance for 199 yards with one interception, which the Ravens converted into a field goal. Leftwich also suffered a rib injury on one of the three sacks in the game, which would end up keeping him sidelined for the next few weeks.
When he was healthy enough to resume practicing, Leftwich had lost his spot on the depth chart to Batch, and he would remain inactive for the rest of the season as a result.
Free Agency Outlook: Leftwich just can\’t seem to stay healthy and his time with the Steelers is more than likely over now. The Steelers need more reliability at the backup quarterback position and will most likely address that problem at some point during the draft. The Steelers might decide to bring Batch back for one more season to serve as the number three quarterback on the depth chart, but even that is far from guaranteed at this point.
Leftwich will not receive any attention during the main portion of the free agent signing period, but he ultimately could be signed late in the offseason by another team looking for a third quarterback option. Maybe. His time in Pittsburgh has been very uneventful and should be over now.
Other 2012 Steelers Free Agent Player Analysis
Charlie Batch – Unrestricted Free Agent
Casey Hampton – Unrestricted Free Agent
Plaxico Burress – Unrestricted Free Agent
Larry Foote – Unrestricted Free Agent
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