With the 2014 free agency signing period now just a few weeks away, we are taking a look at the Pittsburgh Steelers free agent signings dating back to 2000, when Kevin Colbert became the general manager.
So far we have ecapped the 200 and 2001 seasons and today we will look at what happened prior to the 2002 season. Please keep in mind that these free agent signing recaps will be limited to only free agents from other teams that were signed prior to June 1st of that offseason as those are the ones that count when determining whether or not a team a team receives compensatory draft picks. The ones that are usually signed after that date are pretty much cheap, one or two year deals for the most part.
During the 2002 offseason, the Steelers only signed two free agents from other teams and below is a quick recap of those signings. The salary cap for the 2002 season was $71.101 million.
Todd Peterson - 3/25/2002 - In March of 2002, the expansion Houston Texans signed Steelers restricted free agent kicker Kris Brown to a four-year, $4.7 million offer sheet That deal included a $1 million signing bonus and included partially guaranteed base salaries in the final two years. As a result the Steelers declined to match and instead signed Kansas City Chiefs free agent kicker Todd Peterson to a four-year, $3.925 million contract. In the first 10 games of the 2002 season, Pederson was awful as he was 12-of-21 on field goals with a missed extra point to boot. He broke a rib early in the 10th game against the Tennessee Titans and the Steelers placed him on injured reserve, and signed free agent kicker Jeff Reed to take his place. Reed of course secured the job long term and the Steelers released Peterson in February of 2003. They took a $750,000 dead money hit against their salary cap as a result.
James Farrior - 4/5/2002 - In the offseason prior to the 2002 season, James Farrior was allowed to test free agency after his rookie contract was up with the New York Jets, who drafted the Virginia product in the first-round of the 1997 NFL Draft. The Steelers pounced on the weak-side outside linebacker and signed him to a three-year, $5.4 million contract after deciding not to re-sign starting inside linebacker Earl Holmes, who wound up signing with the Cleveland Browns. Farrior made the move inside and assumed Holmes' old spot in the 3-4 defense, and stayed there for 10 seasons. Farrior earned Pro Bowl nominations in 2004 and 2008 in addition to earning First-Team All-Pro honors in 2004. During his time in Pittsburgh, he started 154 regular-season games and was leader of the defense for most of his career. Up until now, Farrior is known as the single-best free agent signing that Colbert has ever made during his time in Pittsburgh.
So why isn't Charlie Batch on this list? Batch doesn't qualify as he was released by the Detroit Lions in early June and because of that he was a street free agent. The Steelers signed him in the middle of June to a one-year, $525,000 contract.
Previous Articles In This Series
Recapping The Steelers Free Agency Signings During The Kevin Colbert Era – 2000 Season
Recapping The Steelers Free Agency Signings During The Kevin Colbert Era – 2001 Season