2017 Offseason Questions: Which Free Agent Are Steelers Likely To Lose First?

The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.

Question: Which pending Steelers free agent is the team most likely to lose first, and for what type of deal?

Free agency is literally just a day away. Teams are already able to talk to players’ agents about their interests in working out a deal with one another. As I’ve recapped yesterday, this has in recent years been a time for the Steelers to work out some last-minute deals with some of their own pending free agents, perhaps after they got word on what their market would be.

It seems evident this year, however, that the Steelers are not going to get as much work done with their own as they may have liked, and not necessarily due to time or financial constrictions, but rather because some players are hoping to test the market for themselves. Multiple local writers have strongly intimated in past weeks that a number of players are going to be testing free agency, and that certainly is how it is shaping up to be.

Among their most notable free agents are inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, quarterback Landry Jones, running back DeAngelo Williams, outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, and wide receiver Markus Wheaton.

Timmons is certainly intent on proving that he is still capable of being a regular every-down player, and if the Steelers don’t think he is that, then he will find another team that is willing to take that risk. His market could really be anywhere between $3-8 million per season, especially if he is willing to play for less to say in Pittsburgh, which he seems to have suggested in the past.

As for Landry Jones, he is certainly going to want to test the market. He has gotten some playing experience in the past two seasons and is at about the right age to be hitting free agency. He’s not going to be handed starter money, but he could be brought in to compete by somebody for several million.

Wheaton’s market certainly would be a lot more robust without a dismal injury-plagued contract year, but he could still have a quality suitor in what is routinely a seller’s market at the wide receiver position, and this year tends to be on the weaker side, as was last year, which means overpaying even more for unproven talent.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Conserv_58

    Of the names mentioned, Wheaton and both Jones’ will be playing for different teams.

    As Matthew mentioned, Wheaton’s injury history will, undoubtedly, drop his market value and asking price. He’s high on potential, but low on reliabilty.

    As I’ve said already, given how weak the QB class is in this upcoming draft, Landry Jones finds himself in the best posible scenario he could have hoped for to cash in on a lucrative contract with another team.

    What more needs to be said about, Jarvice Jones’ future with the Steelers that hasn’t already become obvious. He’s a blight on Kevin Colbert’s very good list of first round picks. Jarvice will be playing for a different team. Period.

    Lawrence Timmons says he wants to retire a Steeler. His wish will only be realized if his monetary demands fit in with what the Steelers see his value as being and it sure isn’t in the 5-8 million dollar per year range.

  • VinHuddle

    Well said.

  • VinHuddle

    D Williams ,is the one I’d miss. He filled in admirably when called upon

  • francesco

    Totally agree.

  • Pricopea

    The one person I don’t want to lose is Timmons. So hopefully his price isn’t too high

  • Doug

    In 2015, Williams filled in admirably. But in 2016, his 3.5 ypc was not very good. It’s time to upgrade.

  • Brian Tollini

    I think Jarvis could actually get a pretty decent contract from someone, more based on hope then production, but maybe 3-4 mil/year isn’t out of the question for him. I still think Landry ends up in Dallas. Wheaton to San Fran. I loved DWill’s time in the burgh but this draft class is loaded with talent at the position.

  • ND_Steel

    Unfortunately, I could see us losing Timmons to a team like Jacksonville is a hurry. I just think one of the Florida teams will come in with a offer too good to pass up.

  • RickM

    All of them have holes, whether it’s age, production or injury. I keep coming back to Jarvis Jones’ name and then start to think of his limitations. I guess, if forced to name one, he’d still be it. I know he’s absolutely leaving (unlike several of the others), he still 27 and someone may envision a different role for him. I’m probably completly wrong.

  • budabar

    We really wouldn’t miss any of them

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    For the right price I can see all four back on the 90 man preseason roster. The Steelers need depth. The least likely to make it is DeAngelo Williams. I really like him but afraid that he has hit the age wall. The next least likely is Wheaton but injuries and lack of playing really hurt his value so the Steelers might have him at a bargain. Even if Steelers draft a quarterback, it is wise to keep Landry Jones who knows the system.

  • Conserv_58

    I’ve wondered if a change of position would allow, Jarvice to extend his disappointing career. I thought, perhaps he’s better suited to play the MLB position, but then again he has stiff hips and isn’t very fast, thus nullifying his ability to be an asset in coverage the same way Ryan Shazier is. I’m sure that it was an option the Steelers explored, but decided against it.

    Buh bye, Jarvice I do wish you well.

  • VinHuddle

    Yeah definitely it’s time for an upgrade

  • Conserv_58

    Wheaton will be playing for another team, especially given his injury history. The emergence of Eli Rogers and Ayers makes him expendable. There’s an old saying, “You can’t make the club from the tub.” Wheaton has spent more time standing on the sideline than he has playing. That makes him unreliable and undependable.

    It is a proactive decision to keep, Landry Jones, but if he gets a multi year, multimillion dollar contract offer from a QB needy team he’s gone and I wouldn’t blame him.

    Timmons still has game and some team(s) will see him as still being a three down linebacker. They will need to pay him more than the 3-4 mill per season that he is most likely be offered by the Steelers. If an offer of 5-8 mill per season is put before him he’ll be gone.

    See my post below regarding what I think of D-Will’s returning or not.

  • Jeff Papiernik

    I don’t mean to be overly critical, but these “question” articles are a bit pointless. The author just points out information already known and says well it could be this or this or this. How about being bold and making a prediction? Provide an educated guess to your own question.

  • Brian Miller

    I agree, if we properly address FA and draft like last year. Although it would be nice to keep either Jones or Timmons for insurance/backup purposes.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    He’s the one guy of the list who is a lock to stay, assuming the team wants him to stay that is. I’d be really surprised if he took more money to go elsewhere.

  • Biggie

    Wheaton and J.Jones are gone. I’d most like to keep D. Williams as backup as it would give us time to bring in a RB through the draft to develop as Bell’s eventual backup. I would like to see the staff use the backups more as well to spell Bell and keep him fresh during the season, not to if we bring back Williams and draft a young RB would could finally get rid of Toussaint who has no value at all and can enjoy not seeing him returning kickoffs. I’d be up for Timmons coming back at a friendly cap hit but also need to bring in an ILB who can push him as his coverage skills are now lacking greatly. L. Jones has reach his ceiling and it is low. I wish we could sign a vet FA to back up Ben like Hoyer or McCown and then look to next years draft for a young QB who we can develop into Ben’s eventual replacement because next years crop of QBs is way better than this years.

  • JB Burgess

    He’s a lock to chase WRS too. Trash coaching

  • Matthew Marczi

    The point of the series is to pose questions for others to answer, or to simply pose questions to which there isn’t an answer yet. If I have questions that I feel I have a good answer to, I write an article answering the question.

  • Reggie Cunningham

    Please someone pick up L. Jones. We can move jarvis inside and let Timmons go. Wheaton we can let go. So now we are young in the middle with Jarvis, William and Shazier. We just need a couple of OLBs

  • LucasY59

    but they definitely need to replace some of them with decent players

  • LucasY59

    no way they re-sign Jarvis instead of Timmons

  • EdJHJr

    I’m seeing into future, I see …… I see, looks like Bubby Brister.