Outside free agent acquisitions the Steelers could make (cheap with coach connection)
Being as far over the cap as we are, it is pointless to even discuss most outside free agent signings. But perhaps we could sign a player or two on the cheap because they want to play with one of their former coaches once again. The following guys would provide us with some valuable experience at a price we should be able to afford, plus both of these guys should be in their prime years at age 29.
Steve Breaston was recently released by the Chiefs. His best season was with Todd Haley in Arizona in 2008 (77-1006-3). He production declined in the next two seasons with the Cardinals after Haley left (55-712-3 and 47-718-1), but then Breaston and Haley reunited in K.C. in 2011, resulting in a 61-785-2 season. After Haley was let go by the Chiefs, Breaston disappeared (7-74-0 in 10 games last season, including 4 starts). I doubt many teams will be willing to pay big bucks for a guy who caught 7 balls last season, especially considering how strong the WR market appears to be in free agency. It certainly doesn't hurt that Breaston is also a Pittsburgh native and would likely have an interest in coming home while also reuniting with Haley. If we don't bring back Wallace or Burress, we'd be left with Brown, Sanders, Cotchery, and that's about it. We could draft a rookie and sign an inexpensive vet to fill out our WR corps...Breaston could possibly be that guy.
Danny Smith came over from Washington to Pittsburgh, and his special teams captain just happens to be a free agent. Lorenzo Alexander was called the best special teamer he's seen by Mike Shanahan, and he was honored with a special teams Pro Bowl nod this past season, and was previously named the Redskins' special teams player of the year in 2011 as well. He's two-time Walter Peyton Man of the Year nominee because of his extensive charity work. He's an extremely versatile guy who has played...get this...inside linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end, defensive tackle, fullback, tight end, offensive guard, and special teams (prompting the nickname "One Man Gang"). In Pittsburgh, he'd provide Keyaron Fox like depth at LB as well as a true leader for special teams to help spread coach Smith's message. He started 12 games in 2010, but has only started 1 other game in his other 6 NFL seasons combined, so he is not the kind of guy who would break the bank to sign.