The Pittsburgh Steelers typically aren’t big players in free agency, but they’ve been more quiet than usual this offseason outside of giving big money extensions to Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown as well as small moves to retain some of their own talent. While fans are hoping that things pick up after the market settles down, it looks as though the Steelers won’t get any busier.
While most teams have been making noise and completely shifting the landscape of professional football, the Steelers have been very quiet this offseason. It’s not for lack of trying though. Early free agent rumblings suggested that Pittsburgh was interested in several free agents such as Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, now-Washington Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor and New England Patriots inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Unfortunately, the Steelers were unable to reel in any of their major targets due to having only $18 million in caps space to work with.
Bell’s contract talks may also be a contributing factor to what’s holding up the Pittsburgh’s free agency activity. According to sources, the Steelers are trying to negotiate a deal that will make Bell the highest paid running back in NFL history. Right now, his franchise tender is taking up a little over $12 million in cap space, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe that Bell’s contact could count more against the cap than his franchise tender already does.
The Steelers have several holes on the defensive side of the ball that need to be addressed, and with most of the elite free agent defensive talent off the market, Pittsburgh has no other choice than to fill those holes with replacement level players and through the draft. It’s a bit of risk considering Pittsburgh is in “win now” mode and Ben Roethlisberger only has so much left in the tank, but the method has worked out in Pittsburgh’s favor before.
Pittsburgh is known for building their roster through the draft and develop their own talent rather than bring in outside players, and fans should expect them to continue to stand pat outside of a bargain signing for the rest of the offseason.
Mike Esposito is the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos Staff Writer at Endzonescore.com. Follow him on Twitter @espo6891