The Pittsburgh Steelers entered this offseason with a couple dozen free agents, including players that they had released. They re-signed many of those free agents themselves, but they also lost many of them to other teams, some of them perhaps even taking them by surprise.
Many of those free agents also remain unsigned as we head into July. Oftentimes when it gets to this point of an offseason without a signed contract, it typically means that that player’s professional career is probably over.
That could be the case for a number of the Steelers’ own remaining unsigned players, though there might still be hope yet for some of them.
Plaxico Burress: Burress injured his shoulder during training camp. He was already highly questionable to make the roster, and now many feel that they have a young Burress in Martavis Bryant. He still wants to play, but it’s highly unlikely that he finds a suitor in the NFL.
Felix Jones: The Eagles traded Jones to the Steelers because he wasn’t going to make their team. Now it doesn’t look like he’s going to make anybody’s team. His best bet is as an injury emergency mid-season.
Brett Keisel: There is a vocal minority who still believe that the Steelers will still re-sign Brett Keisel once training camp rolls along. But if the Steelers don’t come knocking, figure on The Beard calling it a career.
Mat McBriar: It’s telling that the Steelers have two punters on the roster, neither of whom were any of the four that they had last year through training camp and the regular season. It’s also telling that McBriar was available mid-season last year.
LaRod Stephens-Howling: Stephens-Howling tore his ACL in the first game of the season. Might the Steelers still be interested in bringing him back as the season approaches if he shows that his knee is ready for action? He may have to wait until the season starts to find a home, if he does find one.
Stevenson Sylvester: When the Steelers released Sylvester in the first round of cuts, nobody came around sniffing, and they had no problem coming in and re-signing him later in the year. The Steelers are four lines deep in inside linebackers now, however. This could be the end of the road for Sylvester barring an injury.
Fernando Velasco: Unlike the majority of the Steelers’ free agents remaining unsigned, Velasco is one who is likely to find a home in time. He tore his Achilles late in the season, and must show that he is healthy enough to participate first. He should have some suitors, and that could well include the Steelers.
Jamaal Westerman: The Steelers signed Westerman late last season as they took blow after blow to their outside linebackers, but they never had to use him. They don’t feel terribly deep at the position still, yet Westerman remains unsigned.
Curtis Brown: Once a very strong special teams player, Curtis Brown could never put it together on defense. He tore his ACL last season and was waived injured earlier this year, the Steelers having finally given up on him after three seasons.
Levi Brown: Worried about their depth at tackle after the benching of Mike Adams, the Steelers traded for Levi Brown, but he was lost for the year before even taking the field. Perhaps after he heals from his triceps injury, somebody may come around kicking his tires.