Steelers 2013 Free Agency Recap: Business As Usual

The initial crush of the 2013 free agency period is now over and the Pittsburgh Steelers followed the path that many of us expected them to take.

The big free agent signing this offseason is currently quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, who the Steelers signed to a three-year contract to be the backup to Ben Roethlisberger. Outside of Gradkowski, the Steelers retained a few of their own in the form of inside linebacker Larry Foote, guard Ramon Foster, wide receiver Plaxico Burress, fullback David Johnson and long snapper Greg Warren. They also brought back to Pittsburgh a few familiar faces in the form of cornerback William Gay and tight end Matt Spaeth.

Sure, the Steelers had their yearly losses in free agency as wide receiver Mike Wallace, running back Rashard Mendenhall, cornerback Keenan Lewis, and safety Ryan Mundy all left for greener pastures, but we all knew beforehand that both Wallace and Mendenhall had no shot at returning. Lewis, it seems, wasn\’t even in the plans to try to re-sign.

Now that the market has cooled off, the Steelers will look for whatever bargains are remaining on the free agent market to fill in the remaining holes on the roster. Signing a free agent running back, tackle, guard or linebacker is not out of the question at this point; however, I wouldn\’t expect all four of those positions to be addressed. Any free agent player who is brought in from the outside, will have to come cheap, as salary cap space will be non existent until June rolls around.

There are a few of the Steelers own unrestricted free agents who might get one-year deals over the course of the next few months, but tackle Max Starks and nose tackle Casey Hampton are not expected to be included in that group. Quarterback Charlie Batch, center Doug Legursky and safety Will Allen will be the likeliest ones to re-sign that are left, but none of them are considered slam dunks at this stage.

The tendered restricted free agents? Only wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders remains a question mark at this time, but his status will be finalized by the time the draft rolls around. Jonathan Dwyer has already signed his tender, and nose tackle Steve McLendon and running back Isaac Redman should not be too far behind him.

So there you go. If you were expecting more than what happened over the course of the last few weeks, shame on you, as this has been the Steelers free agency plan over several years now. It was, as I like to call it, business as usual.

  • Jollyrob68

    I don’t think anyone ii s surprised it was typical Steelers but Colbert said they weren’t married to anyone. Colbert & Tomlins words are becoming filler/fluff because its just noise with no substance.
    Where was the March Massacre? Instead of a Massacre they cut the obvious and brought back the ancient crutch. Instead of moving forward and forcing a new Defensive Leader to emerge. I guess that’s not going to happen until they promote Keith Butler.
    I’m so looking forward to The Butler Era.

  • kakello34

    “If you want the vet minimum we are the home for you”

  • Bob Francis

    A couple first round underachievers: How about Felix Jones to add some RB competition and Darius Heyward-Bey to see if he can live into some of that deep threat, big WR potential with Ben throwing to him?

  • steeltown

    Colon is gone finally, we’re going to have a new starting NT, a new starting OLB, a new starting CB on the outside.. and pending the draft, a new starting WR and RB as well as a new backup QB behind Ben.. I know its not sexy, but those are pretty big changes compared to years past

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Steelers are masters of getting the most out of their money when they sign guys in the summer time. But I thought Will Allen played great as a backup last year. Please remember that even when Polamalu was out, the defense was stout and Allen held it up as Clark laid out the hits. Depth will be an issue this year after having to let all these guys go.
    Want to hear my solution?
    Ben, Woodley and a few others walk into the office and say,
    “I want to win the Lombardi, please give me a pay CUT, so that you guys can sign some better players!”
    Yeah. And then I woke up!

  • steeltown

    Contrary to many beliefs, we are a Team getting younger, much younger.. even though we brought back Foote, Gay and Burress we still trimmed some ‘old’ fat in terms of Hampton, Starks, Colon, Leftwich and of course Harrison and possibly Charlie Batch

    I still hope we bring Will Allen back for another season to back up Polamalu… we can still draft a SS as well this year to learn and play alongside Golden

  • SteelerFanInMD

    The Steelers came out on the short end of this year’s free agency. They lost young, talented starters in Wallace and Lewis and acquired re-tread backup players. I hope they don’t also lose Sanders. If they do, would that make this the worst year of free agency for the Steelers?

  • Primanti05

    Amen brother. When we say we have interest in Dumerville and Freeney, that is exactly what we mean!

  • steeltown

    To me, losing the oft injured Sanders just means they’ll make WR a major priority in the draft and that we would most likely end up with either Patterson, Patton, Hopkins, Hunter or Woods.. which in the long run ‘should’ be a major upgrade over Sanders

  • disqus_wdLdx4W76r

    I’ve been saying the same thing about Heyward -Bey..I’d give that Guy a look

  • disqus_wdLdx4W76r

    If we need WR and RB why wait untill the 3rd or 4th round? makes no sence. I know that’s the new trend (value picks) but when was the last time we had the chance to pick under 20 in the 1st round? We all know a Defensive pick wont see the field for 2 years in LeBeaus System..unless we have more then a few why not go defense in The 3rd or 4th, find your “Value picks” there. Ben needs help at WR and RB.. NOW! not next year. @Blkandgold4Life

  • Steelers32

    I am hopeful that they get the pick from NE and grab a combo of WR’s in first 4 picks any 2 of the top 6 would be a big game changer for the offense

  • disqus_wdLdx4W76r

    We can’t keep the young talent we developed because we wont pay um market value when the out perform their rookie contract..We can’t sign a free agent worth a damn because Colbert has the team handcuffed $ wise..and trust me I know the HISTORY of how the Steelers work in free agency. Don’t wana hear that “Oh its workd perfect so far” or “Colbert knows what he’s doing” lol BS! Go back and look at the Cowher Teams before Colbert..when Donahoe was runnin things (With Cowher) ..We didn’t keep Old players..Our draft picks playd and stayd and we had the $ to go get players we needed through Free Agency.Bill may not wana coach but we need him as our GM..Colbert is gona Wreck this team. Look at his record since Cowher retired..and ppl say Tomlin fell into a great spot!? I’d say the same for the “Guru” Colbert. @Blkandgold4Life

  • steeltown

    I actually hope its the Colts that get him.. they’d hand over a slightly higher 3rd Rd pick – #86 instead of #91 overall

    Plus if Sanders is a Colt I can actually wish him well in his new venture… I cant however wish any member of the Patriots well

  • steeltown


  • hergieburbur

    There isn’t a RB worth higher than a second, and it is a deep WR draft. Plus, we have had far more success in later rounds with WR than 1st round picks.

  • hergieburbur

    Hey-Bey stinks.

  • hergieburbur

    The only move that surprised me at all so far was them not offering anything to Lewis. I knew they valued Allen higher (he has a higher ceiling) but I thought they would at least try to make him an offer.

  • charles

    I am glad that Colbert does not care what the fan coaches think. There is some truth to the pressue that both he and Tomlin are under this next year. One thing that is for sure is that the Steelers have gotten a lot younger where it matters most: on the line of scrimmage. Imagine Dline of Hood Mac and Heyward and an Oline of Gilbert Beachum Pouncey DeCastro and Adams. We would be the youngest team in the NFL on the line of scrimmage!

  • GunsDontKillWoodleyKills

    If the Raiders picked em in round 1, the usually are junk. Pass on Bey

  • I do imagine it and all I see is 6-10,,,,,5-11.

  • hergieburbur

    I still prefer to keep Sanders as I think he fits Haley’s offense very well and is up for a breakout year. I see the value in getting a 3rd for him but I still would not want to use a first on a WR unless it is Patterson.

  • hergieburbur

    The problem is the drafting, the signing comes from that. We are missing on too many draft picks, which is causing us to keep veterans for longer and more money than we usually would. We have one starter and one role player from the 2006, 2008, and 2009 drafts combined. Combine that with them trying to hold the team together for just one more SB run, and we end up in cap hell, which now makes it hard to keep the young talent we have.

    That said, i don’t care where we are cap-wise, Wallace isn’t worth what Miami paid him.

  • mokhkw

    Seriously? Colbert fell into a great spot? You may want to pay a visit to pro football reference and refresh your memory about Donahue’s last 2 years before he was fired (98&99) and the Draft history for Donahue (91-99) & Colbert(2000-).

  • charles

    If that turns out to be true then maybe Rooney will give Colbert and or Tomlin their retirement options. Until then we have to hope for the best.

  • markthom

    exactly unless jarvis jones is there @ 17 he can get faster that is not a problem dude is a football beast Or get Arthur Brown. Timmons and Brown would be the fastest ILB core in the league . He might be able to play in his 2nd year do to Footes days are numbered and Spence future is unknown. I wouldnt be mad if Patterson was taken or Austin in the 1st they would play week 1 in Haley’s offense the DINK and DUNK style is based on getting the ball out quick and allowing the receiver to make plays. Brown Sanders Austin would still be the fastest WR core in the league. Patterson Austin either 1 is solid choice. I want Leveon Bell in this Offense he is a great strong runner that has good hands coming out the backfield.

  • markthom

    we went 6-10 twice 7-9 9-7 our squads didnt perform every year

  • markthom

    your an idiot cowher wasnt 500 or better every year get your facts straight morons