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History Says Steelers Won’t Be Interested In 30 Or Older Defensive Free Agents

The free agent signing period will begin next Tuesday evening and while it’s fun to speculate about players that the Pittsburgh Steelers might be interested in signing, it’s important to look at age when combing through all of the candidates.

Below is a list of players that have been signed by the Steelers during the main signing period since Kevin Colbert became the general manager in 2000 and I have listed each player’s age at the time they were signed along with the number of games played and started in the NFL up until that point.

For starters, I think you will notice that the Steelers have only signed one defensive free agent that was 30 years or older dating back to 2000 that had never played for the organization previously. That player was linebacker Mike Jones, who the team signed back in 2001.

While cornerback Willie Williams was 35 years-old when the Steelers signed him back in 2004, it’s important to remember that he had previously spent time in Pittsburgh. As we all know, the Steelers have never been shy about re-signing their own and even if they had spent time with another team.

So what does this tell us? If we go by Colbert’s history, the Steelers are unlikely to sign any defensive free agents during the main signing period that are 30 or older. If you are hoping that the team will sign former Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole and cornerback Cary Williams, you are likely to be disappointed, as both have already hit 30.

As far as offensive free agent players go, the Steelers have shown in the past that older wide receivers and quarterbacks are fine. In fact, just last offseason the team signed wide receiver Lance Moore, who was 30 years of age at the time. Moore, however, was signed to be a role player as was Arnaz Battle in 2010 and Terance Mathis in 2002. Even wide receiver Antwaan Randle El saw a second stint with the Steelers in 2010 as a 30 year-old player, but much like Moore, he only lasted one season.

As a whole, the Steelers generally like to sign players around the age of 26 who are coming off of their first contract, so keep that in mind while you are looking for candidates for the team to sign this offseason.

DATE POS PLAYER PRIOR TEAM AGE G GS
2/14/2000 NT Kimo von Oelhoffen Bengals 29 79 36
2/22/2000 DE Chris Sullivan Patriots 26 63 20
2/28/2000 G Rich Tylski Jaguars 29 51 36
2/28/2000 QB Kent Graham Giants 31 66 33
5/30/2000 S Brent Alexander Panthers 28 96 82
3/8/2001 C Jeff Hartings Detroit 28 72 71
3/23/2001 S Mike Logan Jaguars 26 43 11
4/20/2001 LB Mike Jones Rams 31 159 98
6/12/2001 QB Tommy Maddox XFL 29 50 4
3/25/2002 K Todd Peterson Chiefs 32 109 0
4/5/2002 LB James Farrior Jets 27 76 43
6/13/2002 WR Terance Mathis Falcons 34 190 130
6/17/2002 QB Charlie Batch Detroit 27 48 46
3/5/2003 LB Clint Kriewaldt Detroit 26 49 2
3/17/2003 T Todd Fordham Jaguars 29 56 30
3/19/2003 TE Jay Riemersma Buffalo 29 90 64
3/6/2004 P Chris Gardocki Browns 34 196 0
3/9/2004 RB Duce Staley Eagles 29 98 64
3/10/2004 DT Travis Kirschke 49ers 29 76 24
5/26/2004 CB Willie Williams Seahawks 35 168 104
3/8/2005 WR Cedrick Wilson 49ers 26 53 18
4/5/2005 S Tyrone Carter Jets 29 62 31
3/14/2006 S Ryan Clark Redskins 26 50 28
3/16/2006 DE Rodney Bailey Seahawks 26 56 1
3/10/2007 C Sean Mahan Buccaneers 26 57 36
4/17/2007 DT Nick Eason Browns 26 30 3
5/10/2007 RB Kevan Barlow Jets 28 84 33
3/3/2008 RB Mewelde Moore Vikings 25 54 11
3/12/2008 LB Keyaron Fox Chiefs 26 40 4
3/18/2008 C Justin Hartwig Panthers 29 67 63
4/24/2009 CB Keiwan Ratliff Colts 28 69 12
5/1/2009 WR Shaun McDonald Lions 27 84 17
3/8/2010 WR Antwaan Randle El Redskins 30 127 71
3/8/2010 WR Arnaz Battle 49ers 30 25 0
3/8/2010 T Jonathan Scott Bills 27 29 15
3/8/2010 S Will Allen Buccaneers 27 84 26
3/15/2010 LB Larry Foote Lions 29 31 5
4/10/2012 TE Leonard Pope Chiefs 28 87 49
3/4/2013 CB William Gay Cardinals 28 96 52
3/13/2013 QB Bruce Gradkowski Bengals 30 39 20
3/18/2013 TE Matt Spaeth Bears 29 91 56
4/26/2013 RB LaRod Stephens-Howling Cardinals 26 57 10
3/12/2014 FS Mike Mitchell Panhers 26 76 23
3/14/2014 DE Cam Thomas Chargers 27 54 15
3/24/14 LB Arthur Moats Bills 26 59 20
3/21/2014 WR Lance Moore Saints 30 101 30
3/28/2014 RB LeGarrette Blount Patriots 27 56 28
4/1/2014 CB Brice McCain Texans 27 72 10
4/2/2014 WR Darrius Heyward-Bey Colts 27 72 64
4/14/2014 P Adam Podlesh Bears 30 107 0
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