Over the course of the past few seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers have not been shy about using the waiver wire, especially after the final roster cuts are made following the preseason, in order to enhance their roster. They have made at least one successful waiver claim in each of the past four seasons, and we are aware of at least two failed claims this season alone.
Using the waiver wire is often a good way for teams with a weaker roster to replenish some talent, which has been somewhat true for the Steelers over the course of the past few years. But the team still has some weak spots on their team that they are likely keeping their eye on when the roster cuts come.
Most recently, Pittsburgh claimed wide receiver/quarterback Devin Gardner off waivers after he was quickly released by the Patriots following his signing with the team after the draft. The Steelers picked up his $10,000 signing bonus as part of the claim, which matches the highest bonus they gave to any of the undrafted free agents that they signed.
In 2014, the Steelers claimed cornerback Deion Belue in late May, but he lasted less than a month. They claimed cornerback B.W. Webb from the Cowboys just prior to the start of the regular season, and he remained on the 53-man roster all year. He remains in contention for a roster spot this summer.
Pittsburgh was particularly busy in 2013, beginning with a waiver claim for quarterback John Parker Wilson back in February. They were able to add tight end Michael Palmer via waivers in August, and he managed to stick on the roster for two seasons.
Of course, that year they also claimed cornerback Antwon Blake off waivers just prior to the start of the regular season. He soon became a fixture as a gunner on the kicking units, and last season emerged as a defensive contributor who is expected to take on a bigger role this year as an outside corner in the nickel defense.
The Steelers sole waiver claim in 2012 came about as late as possible, on the 29th of December, when they added Hebron Fangupo to the 53-man roster after placing three players on injured reserve prior to a meaningless regular season finale with no hope for a playoff spot.
You may recall that the Steelers added two other players just prior to the 2013 other than Blake. They added punter Zoltan Mesko and center Cody Wallace, but Mesko cleared waivers, while Wallace was already a vested veteran not subject to the waiver system prior to the trade deadline.
The situation at punter appears to be no more stable now than it did in 2013, so it’s possible that the Steelers could look to waivers at that position. That appears to be the position most likely to be possibly addressed via waivers this year.
But there are certainly possibilities elsewhere, particularly on defense. With the right name popping up, defensive end, cornerback, or safety could all be addressed for depth purposes. The offensive line, particularly at tackle, and perhaps the third-string quarterback position could also be targets.