With the 2014 free agency signing period now less than three weeks away, we are gearing up for it by 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 eight years of Colbert’s tenure in Pittsburgh as it relates to the signing of free agents from other teams and today we will look at what happened in free agency prior to the 2008 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.
The 2008 offseason was a modest yet effective one for the Steelers during the main part of free agency as they signed two unrestricted free agents from other teams in addition to one key street free agent. Below is a quick recap of those signing and I will also remind you that the salary cap for the 2008 season increased to $116 million per team.
Mewelde Moore – March 3, 2008 – In 2007, the Steelers started off free agency with the addition of Minnesota Vikings unrestricted free agent Mewelde Moore as they signed him to a three-year, $4.95 million contract. Head coach Mike Tomlin knew all about Moore as he was the Vikings defensive coordinator in 2006. Moore was signed to be a change of pace running back and a return man. In his first season with the Steelers, Moore rushed 140 times for 588 yards and five touchdowns. He was also productive out of the backfield as a receiver as he chipped in another 320 yards and touchdown on 40 catches. Moore, however, wasn’t much of a return man and that role was sporadic. During his four seasons in Pittsburgh, Moore played in 59 regular-season games and started four times. In addition, he also registered 1,744 total yards from scrimmage to go along with nine total touchdowns.
Keyaron Fox – March 12, 2008 – Nine days after Moore was signed, the Steelers signed their second unrestricted free agent of the 2008 offseason as linebacker Keyaron Fox agreed to a one-year, $645,000 contract. Fox, who had played the previous four seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs, was signed to be a backup linebacker and primary special teams player. In his first season in Pittsburgh, Fox appeared in just 10 games with no starts. The Steelers re-signed the Fox the following offseason to a two-year deal and he started three regular-season games in 2009 due to starter Lawrence Timmons having an ankle injury.
Justin Hartwig doesn’t technically qualify for this list based on the guidelines we have been using for this series as he had been released by the Carolina Panthers and thus a street free agent. However, he probable should count, because it was a key signing for the Steelers, who had to overcome the 2007 free agent signing of center Sean Mahan, who was eventually traded back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to the start of the 2008 season. Hartwig signed a two-year, $3.725 million contract with the Steelers that March and went on to start 32 regular-season games for them. Hartwig had his contract extended by the Steelers after his first season in Pittsburgh, but they decided to release him prior to the start of the 2010 season after then-rookie Maurkice Pouncey won the starting center job in training camp.
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
Recapping The Steelers Free Agency Signings During The Kevin Colbert Era – 2003 Season
Recapping The Steelers Free Agency Signings During The Kevin Colbert Era – 2004 Season
Recapping The Steelers Free Agency Signings During The Kevin Colbert Era – 2005 Season
Recapping The Steelers Free Agency Signings During The Kevin Colbert Era – 2006 Season
Recapping The Steelers Free Agency Signings During The Kevin Colbert Era – 2007 Season