A Look Back At The Players Cut Or Not Re-signed By The Steelers Last Offseason

The Super Bowl is now over and the 2014 free agency signing period is just a little more than a month away. Today, we will take a look back at how the players faired in 2013 that were either cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers last offseason, or were free agents that they chose not to re-sign.

Players Under Contract That Were Released

Willie Colon – Colon was released in mid March as a post June 1st termination so that the Steelers could spread out his dead money hit over two seasons instead of taking the full brunt of it in 2013. Colon wasn’t out of work long, however, as the New York Jets signed him to one-year contract worth $1,162,500. The Steelers former fourth-round draft pick managed to play all 16 games with the Jets at right guard and he only missed 13 offensive snaps all season. Colon’s run blocking wasn’t great with the Jets, but his pass protection certainly was above the line as he allowed just one sack and three quarterback hits all season. He will turn 31 in April and will be an unrestricted free agent come March.

James Harrison – After failing to work out a base salary reduction last offseason, Harrison, like Colon, was released in March. He ultimately signed a two-year, $4.45 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals and started 10 games for them at strong-side linebacker. Harrison missed one game with a concussion and including one playoff game, he played a total of 409 defensive snaps. He registered only two sacks and 31 total tackles on the season, but did intercept one pass and recorded one fumble recovery. He will turn 36 in May and if he remains with the Bengals, he will be one of the oldest defensive players in the league in 2014.

Free Agents Not Re-signed

Mike Wallace – Wallace was a big winner in free agency as he signed a five-year, $60 million contract with the Miami Dolphins that included $30 million guaranteed. While he did catch a career-high 73 passes in 2013, Wallace had a career low yards per catch average of 12.7 and only scored four touchdowns. In addition, he also dropped 11 passes thrown his way that were deemed catchable. Because of the contract that he signed and the stats that he put up, the Steelers are sure to get a third-round compensatory draft pick for him.

Keenan Lewis – Lewis went back home last offseason as he signed a five-year, $25.5 million contract with the New Orleans Saints that included $10.5 million guaranteed. The Steelers former third-round draft pick fit in well with the Saints as he recorded a career-high four interceptions to go along with six passes defensed in 16 regular season games and two playoff games. Lewis only gave up three touchdowns and opponents completed just 54.5% of the passes thrown his way. It was a sold season for the Oregon State product and the Steelers will likely receive either a fourth or a fifth round compensatory draft pick for him this offseason.

Rashard Mendenhall – The Steelers chose not to re-sign Mendenhall and he ultimately signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals. While he did start 15 games in 2013, Mendenhall finished the season with just 687 yards rushing on 217 carries. He did, however, score eight touchdowns and chipped in 18 catches for 134 yards in 470 snaps played. Based on his contract, playing time and production, the Steelers aren’t likely to get a compensatory draft pick for losing Mendenhall as the signing of quarterback Bruce Gradkowski is likely to offset his loss. If, however, the formula deems that not to be the case, I think the best the Steelers can hope for his a seventh-round draft pick. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that.

Ryan Mundy – Mundy surprisingly caught on quick with the New York Giants in March as he signed a one-year qualifying contract for the minimum worth $780,000. The Steelers former sixth-round draft pick only started nine games in 2013, however, and played just over 650 defensive snaps in which he recorded just one interception. The Steelers will not receive a compensatory draft pick for Mundy, who will now be lucky to catch on with a team in 2014.

Will Allen – Allen was allowed to walk last offseason and like Mundy, he signed a one-year qualifying contract for the minimum worth $905,000. After starting the first two games of the 2013 season for the Cowboys, Allen was released after the fifth game and ultimately wound up back in Pittsburgh for the rest of the season with the Steelers. As with Mundy, the Steelers will not be eligible for a compensatory draft pick for initially losing him via free agency.

Doug Legursky – Legursky signed a two-year, $1.85 million contract with the Buffalo Bills as an unrestricted free agent in early June and went on to start 11 games for them at left guard. As a result of him signing so late, however, the Steelers are not expected to receive a compensatory draft pick for losing him.

Max Starks – Starks signed a one-year, $2 million deal in May with the San Diego Chargers, but after a dismal showing in the preseason, he was released prior to the start of the season. Starks did catch on briefly with the St. Louis Rams in the middle of September, but was released after just a few weeks and eight snaps played.

Leonard Pope – Pope signed with the Chicago Bears in early August but was released prior to the start of the regular season and did not catch on elsewhere.

Casey Hampton, Charlie Batch, Byron Leftwich, Brandon Johnson, Jeremy Kapinos – None of these five players signed with teams in 2013.

To sum things up, I expect that the Steelers will receive a third-round compensatory draft pick for losing Wallace and either a fourth or a fifth round compensatory draft pick for losing Lewis.

  • steeltown

    Hope we get a 4th for Lewis, he signed a decent contract, played all year and he had a good season production wise. Fingers crossed.

  • SteelerFanInMD

    The only player named above that I am upset about losing is Keenan Lewis.

  • steeltown

    was thinking the same thing

  • Patrick Reid

    Same here but he wanted to be out.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I cannot understand why we will not get anything for Legursky who started 11 games and Mundy who started 9 games. Both guys were important contributers to their teams. Both are 7th rounders at least IMO

  • alevin16

    and as always the Patriots will somehow get 42, 3rd round comp picks. I know I am biased but it just seems that every draft, the Patriots get the best and most comp picks

  • 243546

    That’s not true

  • 243546

    Alemeda Ta’amu should get an honorable mention. He worked out pretty well for AZ.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Agree. I do think we will get at least 4 comp. Picks. This article have them graded below their true values; its not just salary, but by the replacement we sign to justified the contract, in that case we didn’t sign anyone; they all were replaced by draft picks (Wheaton, Cortez Allen, David DeCastro, and Le’Veon Bell) I didn’t included Willie Gay, F. Velaso, or Cody Wallace because they were released, respectfully to either avoid the salary cap hit or right before season starts. Cody Wallace was more of a Ryan Mundy signing for us (in a contrast, really) and didn’t played enough to create justified sample of value nor salary cap hit.

    Truthfully I might come across generous but I do see two 3rd round comp picks, one 5th, and one 7th. I’m deemed based on what we got for losing Willie Gay (a 5th round, about as much as Mendenhall goes for the value/contract) and Keenan Lewis is a borderline 3rd/4th round comp, however I’m siding with 3rd because we really didn’t replaced him with a FA signing.

  • SteelersDepot

    The league office determines compensatory picks based on net gains and losses in free agency, for transactions occurring from the start of the league year through June 1.

  • SteelersDepot

    Like I wrote, he was signed too late in free agency to qualify for a comp pick.

  • SteelersDepot

    He was with the Steelers through camp, though. That doesn’t count.

  • John

    As to Lewis, no one seems to mention that one of his friends since before the Steelers was Wallace. Given how malcontent Wallace was supposedly during his last year, that had to have some impact on Lewis and his true feelings for staying in Pittsburgh. As to other players, why is it that guys the Steelers feel cannot play (Colon, Legursky, Urbik) can become starters elsewhere on offensive lines that function at least as well if not better than ours?

  • Brian K

    This is probably where Roger will assess his ‘draft penalty’ for Tomlin’s oopsy and instead of a 3rd and 4/5 it’ll be a 4 and 6! Lol

  • 243546

    Definitely not the same set of circumstances as the other guys on your list. That’s why I said honorable mention. I’m still disappointed that we let him go.

  • steeltown

    Same could be said for our OL with guys like Whimper, C.Wallace, Velasco all contributing… sometimes a change in scenery and coaching/scheme works out for the better

  • 243546

    Circumstances. Colon landed on IR three years in a row. Considering the money he was making, and his injury history, I can’t blame the FO for not wanting to take the risk and keep him on the roster. Colon didn’t present the same level of risk for the Jets, because he isn’t making anywhere close to the same amount of money as the Steelers were paying.

    Urbik took a while to develop, and was beat out by other players in camp.

    Legursky was probably more about money than anything else. He wasn’t going to start, and the coaches felt that Beachum could take over Legursky’s role as the primary back up for the interior OL. Basically, it came down to paying a veteran, or relying on a player under a rookie contract.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    Yeah, that was mistake. Guys like him don’t grow on trees and who knows when they’ll find another?

  • steeltown

    I am too.. we could then in all likeliness let Hood walk, move McLendon to DE and let Ta’amu play in the base defense

  • PA2AK

    I wonder how quick they would have let Ike go to keep Lewis had Ike not been part of the Superbowls.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Stupid question. I know Mendy did not do much for the Cards, but they did let him carry the ball 217 times, more than any other Card. It’s not like he was benched totally or cut. So, does that not count for something? Maybe a 7th?

    Same with Mundy. I know 1 INT is not much but played a lot of snaps, well over half. Again, does that not get you a 7th, or do you have to meet some pre-defined standards?

    Bloody confused over here. But then again, it is the NFL. Lots of confusing stuff.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    They should have kept Lewis AND Ike. Why they spent money on two RBs then let Redman go was beyond me, then again I don’t know why they were so hot to get Spaeth back, a guy who has done nearly nothing. And don’t tell me about his blocking….they ran better when Adams was at TE!!!

  • Douglas Andrews

    Just think of what might have been if we had him Taylor Allen and maybe gay…sure would have helped that lack of pass rush.

  • Shawn Winbush

    that is true..Lewis had every intention of going home to N O. The moment the offered the contract he jumped on it. The Steelers never got a chance to offer Lewis a contract.

  • PA2AK

    Spaeth DID get injured remember? And no one here has to tell you about his blocking…the league and his well documented ability can do the talking. Would be nice to keep every player, but I don’t think they were in a position to keep both Ike and Lewis.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    Spaeth must be a really nice guy, or maybe his wife can bake great brownies, but every time I see him, he is either getting backed up or already on his back. And part of a TEs job is to actually catch passes, something he has never been much good at. I know they can’t keep everyone, but several signings, such as the 2 useless RBs I mentioned are mysterious to me when they could have used that money to keep a proven commodity like Lewis.

  • PA2AK

    I agree on the other personnel moves. Even keeping Redman over Dwyer to begin with was a mystery. Of course, I’m sure everyone would be singing different tunes had we not lost so many to injuries by the time the first week of play ended.

    I’m still puzzled on you knocks against Spaeth. He’s arguably one of the best blocking TE’s in the league. While he’s not the greatest pass catcher, he’s certainly more reliable than some and is serviceable to that end. I bet we all would have been singing a different tune here again, especially if Spaeth was starting in place of Miller those first 4 games had he not himself been injured.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    As I said, his blocking is certainly better than his receiving, but that says very little. And if he was such a great player, why didn’t he get any other offers when the Bears got tired of him? Regardless, the money used to pay him, Stephens-Howling, Felix Jones et al could have been better used trying to keep Lewis.

  • PA2AK

    The signings of Stephens-Howling, Felix Jones, Dwyer….all came about because we had no depth and our projected opening day starter got injured too. I thought bringing Spaeth in was a great move considering the injury status and depth at TE. Probably a few places they could have dealt with on the other side of the ball that would have allowed Lewis to stay. Spaeth got paid peanuts anyways if I’m not mistaken.

    I guess we can agree to disagree!

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    If Spaeth was paid peanuts, then what would Redman have earned? And why pay these other guys anything at all? Why did they carry the other TEs to begin with? Why did they ignore Paulson’s receiving ability?

  • PA2AK

    Paulson? You’re joking right? You almost had me there, lol. Obviously you’re trying to make this light hearted because Paulson is the most pathetic sack of an excuse for a football player I have seen in quite a long time. And I actually think Red was probably getting paid more than Spaeth. Moreover…I don’t have a clue what you just tried to say in the last post. Sorry.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    Do you watch college ball? Paulson was a decent short-mid range slot receiver at Oregon.

  • PA2AK

    Aaaaaand JaMarcus Russell was lights out too. Point is? Paulson sucks…there is no real way to sugar coat that. I don’t care if he lit people up in pee wee football….he sucks at the NFL level.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    I know he’ll never be another superstar like your boy Spaeth, but they never used him correctly either. A hammer is a great tool, not so good when changing a lightbulb though.

  • PA2AK

    great analogy! Spaeth isn’t my boy…was a smart pick-up for relatively cheap. Point is his signing and some of the other NECESSARY positional signings for depth didn’t create a situation that limited our ability to retain Lewis. Lewis didn’t stay because we made much more costly decisions in other areas with BIG contracts. As for Paulson…let me see if I can get a good analogy like you…Paulson sucks.

  • PA2AK

    honestly…we’re bantering back and forth with b.s. that neither of us really know how or why things happened. the ‘what ifs’…it’s fun and why we’re here. I don’t agree with you…you don’t agree with me…we’re probably both wrong. One thing I am absolutely certain about is Paulsons physical ability at the NFL level. He’s terrible. watching him simply break the huddle makes me cringe. let alone watching him attempt a block. lol. he sucks dude.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    You certainly know much, much more about the Steelers financials than I, other wise how can you expound upon them with such confidence. And I imagine the Steelers drafted Paulson just to make you cringe. Maybe he is all you say, maybe not. BTW, show a little respect and loose the “bs”, “sucks” and “dude” references, I just might be your priest or rabbi or his 97 year old uncle.

  • PA2AK

    Dude…I just said I’m probably wrong about the true motives/financials of those moves. What are you talking about? Also, I have yet to see anyone’s analysis of Paulson’s pro career show much of anything positive…in short, he sucks. I apologize if you took offense to my “harsh” words. BTW, are you a new comer to the internet and/or Pittsburgh?…if that bs is offensive to you, feel free to pop that bubble you must be in and join the rest of us. Just a little friendly bs’ing back and forth.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    I’ve been following the Steelers since the Bill Nelson days, how about you? I’ve only been online for about ten years, though. I have read and responded to comments on several NFL sites over the years and it always amazes me how quickly the tone and language seems to deteriorate, from bs to mf, dude to moron, etc, etc, etc. I am in no bubble, but I expect a certain amount of common curtsey. If I wanted friendly bsing, complete with ever-increasing vulgarities, I would go to a bar in any of the “sides”, (north, south, east, west).

  • PA2AK

    haha, ok dude. by the way, dude isn’t derogatory or meant as a sign of disrespect…more a term of endearment. bs isn’t really vulgar. and I wasn’t really getting chippy, just busting your stones about Paulson…cuz he sucks at the pro level. Congrats on your longevity! I sincerely hope it continues. Enjoy your day boss!

  • Jonathon Bert Schade


  • walter mason

    OMG you used the boss word.