With the 2014 free agency signing period quickly approaching, we are taking a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers free agent signings dating back to 2000, when Kevin Colbert became the general manager.
So far we have recapped the first three years of Colbert’s tenure in Pittsburgh and today we will look at what happened in free agency prior to the 2003 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 2003 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 2003 season was $75.007 million.
Clint Kriewaldt – 3/5/2003 – The first big free agent signed by the Steelers in 2003 was Detroit Lions free agent linebacker Clint Kriewaldt as he agreed to a three-year, three-year, $2.38 million contract. Colbert knew a good deal about Kriewaldt as he scouted him in Detroit when he was the Pro Scouting Director there. The former sixth-round draft pick made a name for himself with the Lions as a special teams player as he only started two games during his four years in Detroit. Kriewaldt ended up playing five seasons in Pittsburgh and started just two games. He mainly played on special teams for the Steelers and even recorded the first tackle on the opening kickoff in Super Bowl XL against the Seattle Seahawks. After ending the 2007 season on injured reserve with a neck injury, Kriewaldt was released in February of 2008.
Todd Fordham – 3/17/2003 - A few weeks after the Steelers signed Kriewaldt , they signed Jacksonville Jaguars free agent tackle signed Todd Fordham to a three-year, $2.38 million contract. Fordham was brought in to compete with Oliver Ross for the starting right tackle spot and he won the job. After starting the first five games of the season, however, Fordham gave way to Ross for a game. He would start again in Week 8, but that would be his final start of the season as he wound up being relegated to a backup role. Fordham was back in training camp with the Steelers in 2004, but the team traded him in early September to the Carolina Panthers for a late round draft pick.
So why isn’t tight end Jay Riemersma on this list? I suppose he could be, but being as he was a street free agent following his release from the Buffalo Bills in late February of 2003, he technical doesn’t fit the guidelines. Riemersma signed a three-year, $3.95 million contract with the Steelers, who were concerned about their depth at that position as Mark Bruener had injury concerns. Bruener wound up accepting a substantial salary reduction later in that that offseason, but the Steelers still were forced to carry four tight ends at the start of the season. Riemersma, who had only 17 catches for 220 yards and three touchdowns in his two Steelers seasons, was released in February of 2005.
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
Recapping The Steelers Free Agency Signings During The Kevin Colbert Era – 2002 Season