It is a rare occurrence that the Pittsburgh Steelers are active in free agency when it comes to the free agents of other teams, but evidently this year was an exception. As announced on his Twitter page, Mike Mitchell has signed with the Steelers.
Adam Schefter now reports that Mitchell’s contract is worth $25 million over five years, but we will wait to see what this contract really tells us when more details, such as guaranteed money, signing bonus, and first-year value, are announced.
Mitchell is a former second-round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders, but did not start regularly until his fifth season in 2013 after he signed a one-year contract with the Carolina Panthers, and that was due to an injury suffered by the Panthers’ starting free safety since his rookie year in 2008, Charles Godfrey.
Mitchell used the one-year contract to record a 66-tackle, 3.5-sack, four-interception, two-forced fumble season, which he has now parlayed into a full-time starting job over five years for $5 million per season.
The signing is of course the absolute last straw for Ryan Clark’s future in Pittsburgh, which was never much in question in the first place. Whether or not Clark plans to continue his player career elsewhere remains to be seen.
More importantly, the move is significant because it shores up the biggest question mark on either side of the ball, arguably, other than perhaps left defensive end.
Mitchell will now start alongside All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu as the deep safety, which will allow the latter to continue to play up in the box more, which is where he appears to be better suited in the latter stages of his career.