The first full day of the 2014 league year officially came to an end at 4:00 p.m. EST and for the Pittsburgh Steelers it was day highlighted by the re-signings of several of their own unrestricted free agents.
In case you missed anything, here is quick recap of what happened on Wednesday and you can follow the attached links to the full post on each story.
The Wednesday news really started late Tuesday evening when it was reported that unrestricted free agent defensive lineman Al Woods would be visiting with the Tennessee Titans later on in the day. By Wednesday afternoon it was reported that Woods had agreed to terms with the Titans, but a short time later word surfaced that he still planned on visiting the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals. Those extra visits apparently never took place, however, and by the end of the day Woods signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Titans.
I really did not expect Woods would receive the attention that he got and especially not this early. The Steelers spent two plus years grooming him and now he’s gone just like that. I was pretty sure he would be back in 2014, but he’s a Steeler no more.
In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, news surfaced that the Steelers came to terms with their longtime long snapper Greg Warren. Later on in the day the Steelers officially announced that transaction along with the re-signings of safety Will Allen and center/guard Cody Wallace.
No official numbers have surfaced on any of those three contracts, but being as Warren and Allen both signed one-year deals, there’s a very good chance that both were qualifying contracts for the veteran minimum that come with reduced cap charges. As far as Wallace goes, he signed a three-year contract and I will be surprised if he was given a signing bonus in excess of one million and base salaries of more than the minimum allowed.
Being as Wallace did receive a three-year contract, that could definitely be a sign that free agent center/guard Fernando Velasco might not be re-signed. At the very least, the Steelers will wait until his torn Achilles’ is fully healed before offering him a one-year contract for the minimum.
Also on Wednesday, we finally got the full breakdown of the contract signed by former Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell and close inspection shows the Steelers got a good deal being as he only received $5.25 million guaranteed with $4.75 million of that being his signing bonus. Mitchell’s cap charge in 2014 will be a measly $2.2 million and after the 2014 season they can decide whether or not to move forward with him by paying him a $2 million March roster bonus he is due. At worst, the Steelers will have a $3.8 million dead money charge on the books in 2015 if he does not play well.
As far as other Steelers unrestricted free agents go, defensive end Ziggy Hood and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders both had visits with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Wednesday and the latter was reportedly scheduled to visit with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after that. Neither are expected to be back with the Steelers in 2014 so a loss of Hood combined with the Wednesday loss of Woods really leaves Pittsburgh ultra thin as far as experience goes on their defensive line. You have to wonder if they might be forced to re-sign defensive end Brett Keisel for one more season if they can’t find a younger defensive end to their liking in free agency.
In other Steelers free agent news, safety Ryan Clark let it be known that he has a visit scheduled with the Washington Redskins and fullback/tight end David Johnson signed a two-year contract with the San Diego Chargers on Wednesday. Neither player was expected to be back with the Steelers in 2014. Also, late Wednesday, it was reported that running back Jonathan Dwyer signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals.
Finally, recently released linebacker LaMarr Woodley reportedly visited with the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday.