Going into the offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ first priority was to retain as much of their own talent as they possibly could, and they’ve definitely achieved that goal. Pittsburgh extended Antonio Brown‘s contract, slapped Le’Veon Bell with the franchise tag, brought back James Harrison on a two-year deal and also signed backup signal caller Landry Jones to a two-year deal. With their own talent locked up, the Steelers took a dip in the free agency pool and, while they missed out on their main targets like wide receiver Terrelle Pryor and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, the Steelers did bring in several under the radar free agents to address depth issues at certain positions.
Running back Knile Davis will provide good depth behind Bell and could be a big contributor on special teams thanks to his experience returning kickoffs, and wide receiver Justin Hunter has tremendous upside and could emerge as the number two option the Steelers passing attack has desperately needed. On the defensive side of the ball, lineman Tyson Alualu adds depth along the Steelers 3-4 defensive front and Coty Sensabaugh provides help in the Steelers secondary. While they’ve made a couple of smart low cost additions to improve the roster, there’s still plenty of work to be done for Pittsburgh to be ready for 2017.
How recent free agent signings affect the Steelers offseason planshttps://t.co/EHMGfTYuUV
— SteelCityUnderground (@steelcityundrgr) March 25, 2017
The Steelers have a big hole at middle linebacker that needs to be filled now that Lawrence Timmons has signed with the Miami Dolphins, and Pittsburgh should consider drafting a young edge rusher to pair with Bud Dupree. Sure, James Harrison might still be playing at a high level, but he’ll be 39 years old at the start of the 2017 season and there’s a very good chance that his skill set could decline.
There’s also a matter of addressing the quarterback situation. Even though Ben Roethlisberger is still playing at a high level and has confirmed that he’ll return for another season, the Steelers should seriously consider finding his successor early in the draft rather than waiting until after their future Hall of Fame quarterback calls it a career.
Pittsburgh may not have made any big name signings or blockbuster trades, but the organization still found a way to improve their championship roster without breaking the bank. With a little over three weeks left before the NFL Draft, expect the Steelers to stay relatively quiet in free agency outside of one or two bargain signings. This is an organization that loves to build their roster through the draft and it’s worked out pretty well for them so far. If they stick to what they’re best at and draft as well as they normally do, there’s no doubt that Pittsburgh will be in prime position to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LII.
Mike Esposito is the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos Staff Writer at Endzonescore.com. Follow him on Twitter @espo6891