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.

2/14/2000NTKimo von OelhoffenBengals297936
2/22/2000DEChris SullivanPatriots266320
2/28/2000GRich TylskiJaguars295136
2/28/2000QBKent GrahamGiants316633
5/30/2000SBrent AlexanderPanthers289682
3/8/2001CJeff HartingsDetroit287271
3/23/2001SMike LoganJaguars264311
4/20/2001LBMike JonesRams3115998
6/12/2001QBTommy MaddoxXFL29504
3/25/2002KTodd PetersonChiefs321090
4/5/2002LBJames FarriorJets277643
6/13/2002WRTerance MathisFalcons34190130
6/17/2002QBCharlie BatchDetroit274846
3/5/2003LBClint KriewaldtDetroit26492
3/17/2003TTodd FordhamJaguars295630
3/19/2003TEJay RiemersmaBuffalo299064
3/6/2004PChris GardockiBrowns341960
3/9/2004RBDuce StaleyEagles299864
3/10/2004DTTravis Kirschke49ers297624
5/26/2004CBWillie WilliamsSeahawks35168104
3/8/2005WRCedrick Wilson49ers265318
4/5/2005STyrone CarterJets296231
3/14/2006SRyan ClarkRedskins265028
3/16/2006DERodney BaileySeahawks26561
3/10/2007CSean MahanBuccaneers265736
4/17/2007DTNick EasonBrowns26303
5/10/2007RBKevan BarlowJets288433
3/3/2008RBMewelde MooreVikings255411
3/12/2008LBKeyaron FoxChiefs26404
3/18/2008CJustin HartwigPanthers296763
4/24/2009CBKeiwan RatliffColts286912
5/1/2009WRShaun McDonaldLions278417
3/8/2010WRAntwaan Randle ElRedskins3012771
3/8/2010WRArnaz Battle49ers30250
3/8/2010TJonathan ScottBills272915
3/8/2010SWill AllenBuccaneers278426
3/15/2010LBLarry FooteLions29315
4/10/2012TELeonard PopeChiefs288749
3/4/2013CBWilliam GayCardinals289652
3/13/2013QBBruce GradkowskiBengals303920
3/18/2013TEMatt SpaethBears299156
4/26/2013RBLaRod Stephens-HowlingCardinals265710
3/12/2014FSMike MitchellPanhers267623
3/14/2014DECam ThomasChargers275415
3/24/14LBArthur MoatsBills265920
3/21/2014WRLance MooreSaints3010130
3/28/2014RBLeGarrette BlountPatriots275628
4/1/2014CBBrice McCainTexans277210
4/2/2014WRDarrius Heyward-BeyColts277264
4/14/2014PAdam PodleshBears301070