The Pittsburgh Steelers entered this league year with 12 players scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency, and another three players who would be restricted free agents. They ended up retaining five of those unrestricted free agents in addition to tendering all three of their restricted free agents.
Pittsburgh also added help from outside of the organization at running back, but suffered two free agency losses, one to another team and the other to retirement. The Steelers also released two players, while five of their unrestricted free agents remain unsigned.
The organization has been clear throughout recent weeks that the organization has essentially wrapped up all meaningful free agent activities. Perhaps there may be a modest addition or re-signing or two in the secondary between now and the draft, but now is a good time to take a look back and see where each position started at the beginning of the process and where it is now leading up to the draft.
Total Positional Figure: 4
Offseason additions: 1 (1 Reserve/Future Signing)
Offseason losses: 0
Greg Warren: There are not many players left on the roster who have been in the league as long as has Greg Warren, the Steelers’ primary long snapper since the 2005 season, and one of just four players on the team that have been a part of all three of Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl appearances in the past decade.
At 33, Warren may be starting to wind down, but as a long snapper, he naturally has a longer shelf life than most positions, as is the case with all three specialist positions. The veteran did miss extensive time in two seasons due to serious knee injuries, including the 2008 season that saw the Steelers win their most recent championship, but he has been healthy and consistent since then.
He has never had a meaningful challenger to his job, at least from what I can recall, because when you have a reliable long snapper, you hold on to him. The Steelers re-signed him in February before he even hit free agency because they knew they wanted to hang on to him.
Shaun Suisham: I have already written more than one article about Shaun Suisham lately as he continues his consistency as a field goal kicker with the Steelers. Outside of one shaky season with a couple of fluke misadventures, he has made more than 90 percent of his field goals in each season with the team, and holds the club record for accuracy.
Brad Wing: Brad Wing had a shaky rookie season, but he wasn’t terrible. His coverage units at times made him look better. You can tell that he has the talent, but he has to be consistent. He will have competition this year.
Richie Leone: Richie Leone will be the first to get a chance to challenge Wing for the punting job. Leone spent camp with the Ravens last year, but they have an established punter and he didn’t get much of an opportunity.
Notes: Though Warren and Suisham are both getting up there in age, they are rock solid for their positions. On the other hand, it’s been some time since the Steelers have had stability at the punter position. Daniel Sepulveda had the chance to be that, but he couldn’t stay healthy.