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.