With the second week of free agency now about to begin, many of you have posted that the Pittsburgh Steelers have seemed to be more reactionary than proactive so far this offseason. While that seems to be true over the course of this past weekend, let us not forget that they really have been proactive as well.
The signing of former Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell on day one of free agency is about as proactive as a team can be. The Steelers knew they had a hole to fill and they filled it. In addition, they also re-signed safety Will Allen, long snapper Greg Warren and center/guard Cody Wallace right at the start as well.
Now, was the signing last week of former San Diego Chargers nose tackle Cam Thomas reactionary or proactive? While many of us thought it was a slam dunk that Al Woods would be back, he’s now gone. We will never know for sure if the Steelers really wanted him back or if Woods thought the Tennessee Titans were going to give him a better opportunity. At least they didn’t waste any time in filling his spot. They clearly had Thomas as a name circled that they were interested in adding and they made that happen very fast.
The Steelers also have been proactive in other areas, even though they don’t have signings yet to show for it. They brought in Buffalo Bills defensive end Alex Carrington in for a visit and for all we know, he has a standing offer in his back pocket should his visits with the Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams not go well this week.
In addition to Carrington, it was also reported last week that the Steelers had interest in Green Bay Packers linebacker Mike Neal, prior to him re-signing. That was definitely a proactive move and one nobody saw that coming, if indeed true.
Heading into this week, the Steelers have visits scheduled with Packers running back James Starks and New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore, and yes, these appear to reactionary moves. They obviously wanted to re-sign running back Jonathan Dwyer, according to what he recently told me, but being as he saw a better opportunity with the Arizona Cardinals, they have no choice but to look elsewhere for a suitable replacement.
As far as Moore goes, his visit is likely a result of wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery planning to visit the Carolina Panthers this week. I’m sure the Steelers want Cotchery back, but they have to be prepared should he sign elsewhere.
I think team president Art Rooney II put it best when looking ahead to free agency when he was at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine several weeks ago.
“I would say it’s kind of like putting a jigsaw puzzle together,” Rooney said. “The only difference is the size of the pieces can change on you from one day to the next. It is a little complicated. I think we have enough options that we’ll get done what we need to get done.”
The Steelers weren’t going to add many outside free agents this offseason to start with, as they mostly try to re-sign their own. However, when a few of those players they want to keep go elsewhere, they have no choice, but to find pieces of the puzzle elsewhere. In a perfect world, they would just throw plenty of money at the players they want to keep, but we all know they don’t work like that. They have a budget to work with and must stay within it. That budget sometimes results in moves being reactionary.