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Steelers Make A Move, Sign Panthers FS Mike Mitchell


The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed an outside free agent on the opening day of free agency, and wouldn’t you know, it’s a safety.

Former Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell has been signed by the Steelers, as he announced on his Twitter page, though contract details have yet to be confirmed.

 

A former second-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2009, Mitchell became a regular starter for the first time last season when he joined the Panthers.

Playing in 15 games and starting 14, Mitchell recorded 66 tackles, intercepted four passes while deflecting eight others, and forced two fumbles. He also recorded 3.5 sacks, which is a high number for a defensive back.

According to Pro Football Focus, Mitchell graded out at 4.0 in pass coverage, but he was a liability in run support with a -5.9 grade. Not surprisingly, he had a positive pass rush grade of 2.5.

Most worryingly, however, he missed 18 tackles by the website’s data, which would have been by far the most on the Steelers’ roster last season. Missed tackles had already become a recent and bothersome issue for the defense last season.

Nine tackles were missed in the run game, while nine were missed in coverage. Based on PFF’s logs, Mitchell had the worst tackling efficiency rating of all safeties who played at least half of the team’s snaps.

More to follow.

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Paddy

    Similar to Ryan Clark when he came to Pgh

  • sean mcmartin

    26 years old and the 19th best in coverage last year.
    not bad Steelers..

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Love the signing!

  • pittsburghjoe

    What do the grades mean? I have no clue what a 4.0 reflects.

  • Paddy

    PFF is a joke

  • mlc43

    Young and on a seeming up swing. Coach him up with one of the best DBs to play the game and we may have something here!

  • Casey Siena

    Love the signing. Everyone is going to complain about the miSsed tackles and though it’s troublesome earl Thomas had 14 last year. This is exactly what I was hoping for! Check out the sack on Kap last year then a kiss to the bicep! Love the signing!

  • steelster

    will be interested in the contract terms, but yes love this signing and this is thinking long term

  • pittsburghjoe

    I read another article that described him as a hard hitter…it must not correlate to the ability to play the run.

  • chris ward

    Great depth signing by the Steelers to get Mitchell. Need as much depth on defense as possible.

  • mlc43

    If we come out of this early off season with a solid CB signing I’ll be the happiest Steelers fan on earth. lol.

  • Nolrog

    I like it. Good move to address a problem position. Makes going corner much more likely high in the draft.

  • grw1960

    Well that one less position to worry about in the early rounds of the up coming draft

  • nicolaisim

    Really wanted T.J. Ward – Broncos got an elite safety for a really fair deal, but I do like our signing of Mitchell. He is definitely on the upswing. Go to work man!

  • Matthew Marczi

    They’re literally grades, not statistics. More than 0 is positive, less negative. Of course it’s subjective, but people (such as Paddy) only knock PFF when they disagree with them.

  • sean mcmartin

    just heard 5 million 5 years …

  • nicolaisim

    5 years, 25 million..

  • mlc43

    !!!! :P

  • mlc43

    There we go. What’s the first year cap hit? Anyone know?

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    Id rather have the guy missing tackles than the guy who isn’t in on plays because he is too slow and still misses tackles (Clark the last two seasons)

  • mlc43

    We still have some people we can restructure if we want to free up some more money for another FA. Did we do Timmons?

  • Rosco

    And more importantly peyton manning leading the way!!!

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    ran a 4.39 at his pro day. which would be more like a 4.4 at the combine. big and fast.

  • mlc43

    Lets just raid the Panthers. Lets take Munnerlyn off their hands as well. ;)

  • Derick L Young

    I like it, seems like a typical Colbert move

  • CW

    Well this takes free safety off the top of the draft needs.

  • Josh Knepshield

    2012 was Ryan Clark’s best year, he was great that year, soooooo…..

  • 20Stoney

    Just watched some youtube of him. He’s big, can cover some ground and it looks like he hits. He sounds really intelligent. I like it!

  • Matthew Marczi

    No, we did not, and the big one would be extending Worilds, which could save $5 million or more in cap space, if they WANT to create cap space.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Not announced yet.

  • srdan

    This reeks of a steelers signing.

    I love it!

  • Steelers12328882

    Sweet!!!! I know there was a couple people on here hoping that we’d sign this guy, including me. Awesome! I couldn’t be happier, unless of course we signed a cornerback too lol.

  • MC

    I was hoping they would go after Calvin Pryor in the draft but im glad they’ve sorted out, what i think, was the biggest need for our defense.
    Now i’d love to see a first round CB taken come draft day.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I suppose you insult them when you agree?

  • http://www.thesportsbonanza.com/ TheSportsBonanza

    I like it… Troy plays against the run and Mitchell is going to be used in coverage.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    It’s interesting that even though he was a second round pick no one seems to have rated him as more than a 6th round pick before the draft.

    Workout numbers were pretty good, though not great.

  • Madi

    I saw him as a Raider a few times and was never impressed. At the time he was drafted it was considered an enormous reach – you know, Al Davis taking the physical specimen with on-field issues. I did not follow him on the Panthers. His numbers look good, but we all know that does not tell the story. For this kind of money, I assume he had a huge breakout season last year and I just missed it. I do know the Panthers had a strong defense. I also know that a player can flourish in a different system, like Ryan Clark did.

    I like that on the surface he appears strong in coverage. That’s what we need. If his run support is his only issue, I have no problem. That can be fixed, and we have other good run defenders in the secondary.

    I don’t mind getting him, but the money seems like way too much – based on his Oakland years. I won’t condemn the signing, but I won’t celebrate it either until I’ve had a chance to watch some of his 2013 tape.

    …I guess there goes Shamarko’s chance at starting this year. I guess they see him as SS all the way. It also lessens the immediate need for CB, since Shamarko can do that instead of playing FS.

  • Ike Evans

    Don’t like the missed tackles man……haha and Calvin would a been there….its a lot of good safeties in this draft..,idk….I don’t think I trust them anymore lol I’ve just come to realize that

  • steelster

    Calvin pryor misses his fair share of tackles watch his tape.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    He’s 26. He’s Fast. He defends the pass well with a few INT’s. He hits hard. Check, check, check, and check. Now let’s hope that he was one of the big reasons the Panthers had a great defense. There is an outside chance that their amazing front 7 made him look good. We shall see.

  • Madi

    For those worried about PFF’s grade on his run support… this is from PFF back in Mitchell’s rookie season with Oakland:

    “Mitchell impressed as a rookie, especially against the run (+6.9 in just 217 snaps). He doesn’t seem likely to supplant starters Tyvon Branch or Michael Huff in 2010, but the Raiders might have struck gold with their wild-card pick from 2009.”

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Interesting pick up. Great tackling is important for safties so my thought was that our staff felt it was fixable. He seems to be a stud in pass defense which is great.

  • Steve

    Mitchell is a poor tackler. Can’t believe they gave him 5 yr 25 mil. Yes Mitchell is fast, we need people that can tackle.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Well, they finally broke with tradition and signed someone on day 1. As Gomer Pyle would say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”

    On another note, check out the teams in the worst shape cap wise and you will find that the Steelers got rid of Woodley, only to be outdone by the Cowboys who got rid of Demarcus Ware. How ’bout them Cowboys! And how much will Ware command? Fascinating.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    And no WR’s signed yet. With tons of depth in the draft and a boatload of FA’s, is it any wonder? There will be some good deals in FA later, just you wait and see.

  • Matthew Marczi

    What I mean is to say that people like the insinuate that the site’s system is in somehow fundamentally flawed, but that argument only tends to come up when somebody disagrees with their overall analysis of a player. As in, Person A thinks a player is good, and PFF says otherwise.

    My point is that PFF is a valuable tool, but just that. Nothing more and nothing less. It shouldn’t be used as a crutch, but it is a helpful resource.

  • steelster

    Yes, and from both teams that seem to be stuck in the 8-8 record zone.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I was just trying to be funny.

    I never know when a smiley face is needed.

  • steelster

    If Sidney Rice is really cheap the steelers could sign him to a one year deal and he can prove to them if he can stay healthy for a year. He fits their need for a tall receiver.

  • Craig Ressler

    Yeah, man! That’s what I am taking about. T.J. Ward! The total sum of both Ward’s and Mitchell’s contracts were not that much different, I don’t think but not sure about the other details, guaranteed, etc. But yeah, I was rooting for Ward too, love his style. Would have been a great Steeler!!

  • Matthew Marczi

    Ha, no worries.

  • John

    Well at least we know we will not be drafting Ha Ha Clinton Dix at this point. Looks like corner or WR for us in round one now.

  • Ike Evans

    I have….difference is….Calvin Pryor is in college and mike has been in the league since 07 and missing 18 tackles….worrisome…

  • RedCarpetDefense

    Panthers had one of the best defenses in the league this past season. Any chance we can raid the pantry of such a unit is a good thing for the Steelers.

  • RedCarpetDefense

    Just curious… Who is it exactly that you don’t trust?
    As for Mitchell, I can’t say I’m overjoyed with this addition either but the silver lining could be that he played on a very good defense (and started). Also Carnell may be able to work out his flaws coaching him up.

  • Matt Manzo

    I wish I could remember who it was, but someone on here called it earlier that Mitchell would be the FA Saftey! Props!!!
    I do remember questioning Oaklands reach for this pick but I’m glad to see us active on day one.
    With the cap room inflation over the next few years if he doesn’t pan out we cut him. So what.
    Hopefully he does work out. I still think we go safety in rounds 4 or 5!

  • Ike Evans

    Yeah carnell is a beast….surprised they gave up on terry Hawthorne so early with carnell doing so well with some of our other guys….and I don’t trust any of them together art ll/Tomlin/Colbert/Haley I don’t trust that mixture together….something about them together just doesn’t fit…the decision making…just isn’t as concise…I mean mistakes happen…that’s the NFL but these guys just always seem off….a step behind…a year too late…a year too early etc etc…I can’t quite put my finger on it but ever since Dan stepped down…shit has felt off to me…I grew up in Pittsburgh and when someone says the Rooney’s….the connotation I draw now from a football perspective is different t from the connotation ppl drew growing up….my grandfather said that this steelers squad reminds him of the 83 team….when the organization realized they held on too long to those guys who won the super bowl a but by that time it was too late…idk I’m ranting but my point is something feels off about this mixture of leadership and I don’t trust them together…I hope I’m mistaken

  • RedCarpetDefense

    You make some interesting points in regards to the FO/coach dynamic although I can’t say I don’t trust them I will say that I find many of their draft picks questionable. Much has been said on this site about the wisdom behind the many failures on the their part to assemble a championship team. We must remember that the nucleus of 2008 and 2010 was still many of Cowher’s “players”. It does seem to me that their collective effort is more concentrated in hanging on to “Cowher’s” players than making the RIGHT moves in not only the draft but just as importantly obtaining quality UDFA’s and developing these guys so they can start contributing in meaningful minutes during the season ensuring proper assessment going forward. My honest assessment of the aforementioned is that they are miserably mediocre (which is to say they are failing given the level of expectation placed on this organization) in identifying players that fit the Steelers’ identity. On that note I am becoming more dumbfounded as to what that identity is. Are we a run first, clock control team? Are we pass happy? Balanced? Don’t even get me started with this defense. I’m not bashing the players as we do have some good ones on this team both young and long in the tooth but rather are we getting the right ones to make this team a champion again. We shall see in a year or two when the last of Cowher’s players is either gone or down to just Ben. I like the way you think Ike.

  • joed32

    The talking heads said that Ward was more of an “in the box” safety. I didn’t watch the Browns that much so I don’t really know.

  • steeltown

    Yes!!!!!!!!!

  • 20Stoney

    Tackling is something that can be improved on by coaching.

  • Steve

    By this time in his life, if he can’t tackle by now, Forget it!

  • shawn

    not so good either … they could have done A LOT better … not so thrilled … looks like they middled it … would have liked for them to be a little more aggressive !

  • shawn

    piss poor signing IMO …. could have done a lot worse i guess, but not what i was looking for !

  • shawn

    Not really … usually u either know how to tackle or dont … especially by the time you reach the pros

  • shawn

    agree … hard to change if u dont know by now

  • shawn

    do u like this deal ??? … he’s young yes … but looking at his stats before last year he has virtually showed NO play making ability … ( 2 int, 1 FF fumble & 12 PD ) in 4 fn years … not such hot numbers …. looks like he is getting pretty big money for one season of work … throw in the poor tackling and run coverage and well ..

    not thrilled but will be optimistic that he turns out like Clark did … ( i can see the similarities)

  • shawn

    lol thats typical of Raider picks !

  • shawn

    what makes u think they won’t still draft a FS early … i wouldnt put it past them !

  • shawn

    he had virtually NO ints more PD while in OAK for 4 years … wouldnt count on him getting a lot with us !!

  • shawn

    u happy with this signing ?? … I’m not thrilled, hopeful at best

  • 20Stoney

    We shall see. The funny thing is I didn’t see one mention on the Carolina boards about his horrid tackling.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Okay, so he will certainly stink, just like you say. Playing like a donkey, the Steelers will waste some money on him and cut him next year. Thankfully, Shark will come on to play great and they will be okay. I am glad you have it all figured out.

    I prefer to say, we shall see. Perhaps you are psychic.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I do like the deal. You have to keep in mind that he didn’t get a lot of playing time in his first four seasons. It seems the Raiders had a difference of opinion on him between the front office and the coaching staff. He didn’t really get much chance until last year.

    More importantly, the deal is structured in a way that escalates as it progresses, so if things should go south, the Steelers can escape most of the damage by releasing him. Alternatively, he still has a lot of upside due to his inexperience.

  • shawn

    fair enough … hope it works out and the raiders were wrong on him .. wouldnt be the first time !

  • shawn

    putting words in my mouth ?? all I’m saying is has little proven ability he is much in the same boat as Worilds … honestly could go either way … i will wait and see how it goes as well, but it would have been nice to bring in a more proven player !

  • MC

    For depth perhaps, but they have Will Allen backing up Mitchell if Mitchell starts and Shark backing up Troy. Robert Golden is third string so i can’t see the need to draft another safety when they desperately need a CB to take over for Ike, OLB and ILB depth and D lineman.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I know, but more experience, sometimes older and you have to pay a lot more. Sometimes that’s real tough. Gamble a lot more money and then it’s easier to screw yourself if you’re wrong.

  • shawn

    Matt,

    Looked a little more into his playing time in Oak and i’m sorry i have to disagree, judging by his tackles he got plenty of playing time (tackles are barely lower than his starting time in Carolina … well more than half) shows his lack of playmaking ability … for now I’ll stand by my opinion that it was a bum signing ..

    actually breaking his season down last year …take away the Minn game and he did almost zilch all year … very avg especially over the last 10 games .. i think they vastly overpaid for this guy and should have took a shot at a higher rated more proven DB and paid the extra few million … like 6-7 million+ a year … would have been the better choice in my opinion !

  • shawn

    OR perhaps a FS they really like falls to them and they chose him to tutor under Troy and Mitchell and takes over in a year or 2 !!

  • charles

    PFF is for football gossipers.

  • charles

    I am curious mic, with no pass rush, who is capable of covering a reciever for 20 minutes?

  • charles

    Great, but we need a pass rush. The NT from the Chargers could be a good pickup. Here’s to Nick Williams and Arnfeldt making Mitchell look good.

  • mlc43

    I’m curious, Charles. Do you sift through days old posts to make snide comments that you hope no one responds to so that you can feel like a computer tough guy? First, the post is 4 days old. Second, I said EARLY OFF SEASON. A person not looking to nitpick at something, a person not just wanting to act like an ass, would read that to mean the early stages of Free Agency. Now, do I think that we need to bolster our DL? Yes, especially in light of what has happened the last couple of days. We still have time to do that. My post is in response to a signing of a FA that I’m intrigued about. My hope was that we would pull in an upgrade in the CB corps as well. I’m glad these things come to my phone. I would miss out on the pleasant responses from people like you if it didn’t.

  • charles

    Did you happen to watch the Titans game last year? If you did then you knew before halftime that our pass rush was weak.
    How did Mitchell get suddenly so good, PFF didn’t tell you the enormity of benefit that he got was from a great Carolina front seven.
    Which Oakland did not have.
    Which the Steelers also don’t have.
    If one THINKS about it, then it is not too far fetched that a good DLine is maybe as important as a franchise qb, given what the Giants did to Brady twice and the saints and Shehawks did to Manning twice.
    In fact it is easy to see that Colbert paid too much for Mitchell and the only drop off in Clarks game corresponded directly with the lack of pressure from our line the last three years. That and excessive Goodell.
    Oh, and thanks for recognizing the snideness…Only it was not directed at you, it was directed at PFF.
    Have you ever been to CHFF? Go there and then you would really sound like you knew something about the strategy of football.

  • mlc43

    Sorry… I guess I just don’t see the need to complain until I see the finished product. I’ve spent enough time around the game to know that you can’t evaluate a half done product. Have a great day now.

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