Now that the NFL is in the complete offseason, it’s time to look at how the 9-7 Pittsburgh Steelers can improve their team. In typical Steelers fashion, don’t expect the Rooneys to make a big splash in free agency. Instead, they will operate as usual and build their team through the draft.
Although the NFL looks geared up to enter the 2010-2011 as an uncapped season due to the laboring agreement, the Rooneys, Kevin Colbert and the Steelers front office indicated that they will manage this season as if it were capped.
The following is a look at current Steelers players of interest for this offseason:
Willie Parker – Unrestricted free agent (UFA). Parker is unlikely to get resigned unless he comes back very cheap. Parker is looking for a starting role but isn’t going to see that in Pittsburgh.
Deshea Townsend – The Steelers won’t sign Townsend long-term but would like to bring him back for cheap. Although, he’s towards the end of his career, Townsend replaced William Gay late in the season. Towsend provides depth and experience in the secondary.
Casey Hampton – Hampton must be the Steelers top offseason priority. Although Hampton warned the Steelers not to use the franchise tag, the notion is that the Steelers are likey to tag Hampton regardless unless the two can agree on a fair 3 year deal. The Steelers don’t have a replacement for Hampton. Chris Hoke is older than Hampton and is on the downside of his career. It’s doubtfut that Hoke can holdup for an entire season.
Josh Reed – Reed is very consistent at Heinz Field which is considered one of the most difficult stadiums in the NFL for kickers. The Steelers would like to bring Reed back for a decent price despite his off the field troubles. Reed does struggle with kickoffs which has consistently put special teams coverage in bad situations.
Ryan Clark – Another priority for the Steelers. Clark is aging at 30 years old but is consistent and plays well with Troy Polamalu. The downside is once Polamalu got injured, Ryan Clark was exposed and really struggled. I see the Steelers signing Clark or Hampton but not both. The Steelers could be looking to draft Clark’s replacement in Texas’ Earl Thomas or University of Southern California’s (USC), Taylor Mays.
Willie Colon – Like it or not, the Steelers feel that Willie Colon is one of the better right tackles in the league. He has been consistent and has played in every game the past 3 years. Due to the labor agreement, Colon is setup to be a restricted free agent again and likey won’t get a long-term offer until next offseason.
Tyrone Carter – The Steelers will most likely not offer the UFA, Tyrone Carter a contract. Carter struggled in filling in for the injured Polamalu and his time is likely over in Pittsburgh.
More Steelers Draft and Free Agency (FA) information coming soon…. stay tuned!