Will Mike Mitchell Be The Only Big Splash The Steelers Make In The Free Agent Pool?

After starting the 2014 league year off with a bang by signing Carolina Panthers unrestricted free agent safety Mike Mitchell to a five-year, $25 million contract on Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers spent Wednesday re-signing a few of their own restricted free agents. Now that day three of the signing period is here, you have to wonder if any other big splashes will be made by the Steelers in the free agent pool.

While the signing of Mitchell certainly filled a huge need, the Steelers defensive ship is beginning to take on some free agent pool water after they lost backup defensive lineman Al Woods to the Tennessee Titans on Wednesday. That ship stands to take on even more water should defensive end Ziggy Hood sign elsewhere in the coming days, as it would leave the Steelers with only two defensive linemen under contract for next season that have serious playing time logged.

Sure, the Steelers have young defensive ends Nick Williams and Brian Arnfelt under contract for next season, but between the two they have logged two regular season snaps with both belonging to Arnfelt, an undrafted free agent.

The Steelers could just re-sign unrestricted free agent defensive end Brett Keisel at some point, but with him quickly approaching 36 years of age, you have to really wonder if he can make it through a full season injury free, something he’s only managed to do just once over the course of the last six seasons.

If Woods is any indication of the quality of free agent defensive linemen left available, the pickings figure to be slim. At least they won’t cost much if that’s the case.

Defensive end isn’t the only position the Steelers could use help at prior to the draft as the team is currently now down to Le’Veon Bell as the only running back currently under contract for 2014 that has any game experience. Jonathan Dwyer was allowed to run off and sign with the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday and we still don’t know whether or not fellow unrestricted free agent running back LaRod Stephens-Howling will be asked to return for another season after suffering a season-ending knee injury last year in the season opener.

Prior to the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said he thought this offseason could be different from the norm when it comes to the teams approach to free agency.

“I think there’s a possibility we could be more active in the free agency market this year than we have in the past,” started Colbert. “Not only from an availability standpoint or from a depth requirement standpoint, but also from a cap situation that we haven’t been able to some types of things in the past, because quite honestly we had more work to do just to get into compliance.

“So it’s a different group finishing this season than it has been in the past. It’s probably a throw back to the early 2000’s when we were trying to put it together. At that point, we were a little more active in free agency with a James Farrior and a Jeff Hartings, and so on, and so forth. So it’s kind of cyclical, but I think we could more active in free agency, but again, the market will dictate that and how much we’re able to get in compliance with the cap, or get under the cap, will dictate how much we’ll be able to add from the outside.”

The Steelers seemed to get into cap compliance pretty effortlessly this year and that’s even with the team unexpectedly placing the transition tender on linebacker Jason Worilds that required nearly $10 million in cap space. Now that they have signed Mitchell and a few of their own unrestricted free agents, they still have enough cap room to make at least one more splash. Is a splash or two still forthcoming, or was the addition of Mitchell the only one we will see this offseason from the outside?

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Derick L Young

    Something tells me they make another signing. Whether it is along the D line or elsewhere is the question. Kinda want Keisel back for one more year. He is a rotational player at this point. Hood will get paid more than the Steelers are willing or wanting to pay him IMO. I mean the draft has plenty of RB’s to draft.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I hope so because we have a lot of positional depth that needs to be filled hopefully we can address a couple more positions before draft day because i see a lot of bad teams (browns,bucs)getting good and good teams (broncos,pats)getting better we cant be playing checkers while their playing chess

  • tino

    Yea a big splash in FA what are you smoking?? that us not the “steeler”way…getting younger and faster…u guest it not the “steeler” way. I am sorry but an 8-8 team..everyones job should be on the line…love Tory but the “steeler”way is not to cut him yet we could use that money to sign draft picks ect..but main point…this “steeler” tradition mentalities has got to change

  • dkoy85

    It’s the SteelerS- and have you not been paying attention this offseason?

  • Rob H

    Is Carrington still unsigned (seems like a good system fit)? I prefer signing a NT, and moving McClendon to end, but I’m not sure on the quality of NT’s available, and what money it would take to sign them.

  • steeltown

    Yea I see Keisel back now too, whereas I was unsure before, but he’ll be cheap and can easily be a spot starter. In addition to mentoring the younginz

  • steeltown

    We have no one on roster better than Troy, maybe Shamarko makes a jump this yr and proves capable of starting and replacing Troy, but until then Troy will remain a staple in the Defense

  • Derick L Young

    why would we want it to change? It has brought the franchise and its fans 6 Lombardi trophies. we, as fans, should feel special. go to the hof, you’ll feel proud to be a Steelers fan. easy. 06′ they were 8-8 and then made the playoffs in 07′ and we know what happened in 08′. have faith when Ben is playing QB.

  • Steelers12328882

    It’s really tough to watch the Steelers operate in free agency sometimes. We’re supposed cap guru’s, but you see a team like the Broncos in the Super Bowl and then go out in free agency and get some top notch players, or a perennial contender like the Patriots take home the top player in free agency by tossing around 12 mil. and you have to sit back and ask yourself “what are the Steelers doing?”. I’m very happy with M&M’s pickup, but we really need a CB, OLB, WR and now DE/NT too. Lets get moving on a couple of these!

  • Steelers12328882

    I like him too, but I hear the Browns and Rams are showing strong interest in him.

  • tino

    6 trophies??? Yea won in the 70’s…then nothing until the 2000..does not make a solid argument for me..yets proves the “steeler” way is what u and everyone else needs to get away from…I dont care what they did in the past…its what can u do now and hiw can u build for the future..neither of which the steelers are addressing..big ben is on the decline..dont see another QB comming to town any time soon ( I mean we went from terry in the 70’s then scrubs all the way up until ben played) and too whats the point of hqving a qb that can throw when 1. U do not give him weapons to play with and 2. Yinzers continue to shout “run the ball” when we do not have the oline for it..or the RB for it either (jury still out on bell). And we all know its a passi g league now..but lets run more because its the steelers way

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    I think whether or not we make another ‘splashy’ (and I use that term from a Steelers historical perspective!) FA signing depends on the Worilds contract. We are $5 million under right now, which is not a lot. We need to sign our rookie draftees, and the only other source for cap money now that we have re-signed Ike would be either 1) moving some of Worilds new contract into future years, and 2) restructuring Ben’s contract.
    Since everybody seems to be walking on eggshells because we have not re-upped Ben, I don’t imagine option 2 would yield much.
    So, it comes down to how Worilds new contract is structured.

  • tino

    Ha ha i only pay attention to winners not 8-8 scrubs who cannot shut out a game..or “players”coaches that cheat by standing on the field..cheap move by a cheap team and cheap ownership

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I get what you are saying but keep this in mind; not all of those moves are great, DeMarcus is a shell of himself and Dallas doesn’t miss his future presence. Revis, well he’d have to prove he can defend Antonio Brown. Patriots are a team that build roster via free agency and UDFA, not draft (kind of backward but its how Belihick (sp? Who cares?) Operates and Peyton signed for much less with Broncoes, so yes they have cap room but who are we to say Peyton won’t regress like Favre? We saw what happened in Super Bowl.

    Bottom-line, it WAS a bad year for AFC, even top teams look weak. This season we should be able to evaluate better within schedule strength and talents. On papers, Steelers still look better than any AFC North teams but of course we got to win though.

  • 20Stoney

    So are you saying you’re a bandwagon fan? Or a fan of another team trolling?

  • steeltown

    Oh I get it now… you must be lost

  • steeltown

    I’d be pissed if the Steelers tossed around $12MIL on Revis for ONE year of service.. the Broncos yes, good moves, they are going all in on Peyton NOW because he could be done on any given Sunday

  • steeltown

    Woodley’s june 1st designation will give us more than enough to sign the rookies, but I agree about Worilds, im sure they’re trying to get a deal done to lower his ’14 cap which in turn would give us more freedom in FA

  • dkoy85

    Yeah… you’re right… Cheap… team… “I”…. would rather… like…. another team.. like the Ravens… or Bengals… because they don’t…. do things… the… “steeler” way. Is…. this… how…. you type?

  • Kareem Daniels

    The Steelers never move fast in Free Agency. There are still players available. Carrington is still available. Wooten from the Bears can play DE. There are a lot of RB’s still on the market. Blount, Bush, Brown, Starks, Choice, and Anthony Dixon.

  • AndyR34

    Come on, man! You are arguing with an idiot troll!

  • Rob H

    People like Tino are so laughably predictable in their posts, they just troll around looking to get reactions to their nonsensical arguments and comments. I know it’s hard to resist sometimes, but if you just ignore them, they look elsewhere for reactions.

  • Callentown

    Corners are going fast. My bet is if we make any additional moves, it’ll be a CB once the dust settles some.

  • Derick L Young

    ok

  • Steelers12328882

    I wouldn’t be pissed if we had the room to spend it. If he helps the Pats win a Super Bowl next year is it really a bad move?

  • Steelers12328882

    Well building through the draft hasn’t really been great for us. Look at 2008, 2009, and even 2010.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    2010 was awesome, what are you talking about? Pouncey, Worilds, Sanders, and even Antonio Brown. That class alone was the best draft class of 2010 and 08′-09′ well.. yes it was bad draft, argumentative those talents were good/decent but either bad fit or was let go. In this deep class you can’t have a bad draft- well that’s very possible… *shudders* anyway I have more faith in the FO than most would like to have. Our priorities of needs fit the draft so I think we will do fine.

  • shawn

    Never thought i would want him back another year but now looks likely and plus he has leverage doubt he will accept vet min … we got caught with our pants down

  • shawn

    Very True !

  • shawn

    Of course they will make another MOVE … that goes unsaid … the question is where and will it be a good one … now it looks like it will prob be on the DL and really can’t see it being an upgrade to Hood … maybe a wash at best … most likely scenario i see being very disappointed … hope I’m wrong !

  • Steelers12328882

    Pouncey hasn’t been all that great since his pro bowl, and Worilds just got it together. AB was a huge bonus in the 6th, but Sanders is as good as gone. Not the best class that year either. Probably not even top 5. That was Caroll’s first year with the Hawks, and look how he’s built through the draft starting with that class.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Point being, all four contributed, at one point all four were starters. Very impressive. I know Pouncey have been a disappointment but so have many other prospects. Pouncey isn’t just up to our expectation so far but hopefully our new OL coordinator can work his magic.

  • Steelers12328882

    I hear ya. Just talking in another article on here about the 2008-2009 draft classes now extinct from the Steelers, soIsuppose 2010 gets a bad name from me too just by association lol.