The start of the new league year was this past Wednesday, which will have been six days ago come 4 PM, and as of this morning, none of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ free agents have signed with a team. Technically speaking, the four players that the Steelers re-signed all came before the start of the league year, and thus they did not actually hit free agency.
Not that it should necessarily be a shock that the Steelers have yet to lose any players just a week outside of other teams having the ability to sign them, although they were able to negotiate contracts in the days leading up to the start of free agency, a new tweak to the ‘tampering period’ that began this season.
Pittsburgh did not necessarily have many high-profile players hitting the open market, and, in fact, two of their biggest potential free agents—cornerback William Gay and guard Ramon Foster—were among the players that they were able to retain before they were formally exposed to the grasp of the other 31 teams.
The team’s biggest free agent is left tackle Kelvin Beachum, who is recovering from a torn ACL, which goes a long way in helping to explain why he may not have signed a contract yet. But that does not mean that he has not drawn any interest; in fact, he probably came pretty close to signing a contract yesterday.
Beachum’s market may have taken a couple of days to develop, but there are several teams pursuing him, with the Jaguars being perhaps the most fervent. They brought him in for a visit yesterday and tried to persuade him to stay, even while he was boarding his plane, in the hopes of making sure that he doesn’t leave without putting pen to paper to play in Jacksonville next year.
The four-year veteran has also drawn interest from the Seahawks, who could be in the market for a new left tackle, in addition to the Jets, and potentially the Ravens as well, and the Steelers may still be keeping the door open for him if his market somehow manages to go down.
He is not the only free agent that has been wooed, however. Both linebackers Sean Spence and Terence Garvin have taken visits already, with Garvin having scheduled multiple visits by now. For a player whom the Steelers chose not to offer a restricted free agent tender, the amount of attention that he is garnering this early into the market may seem a bit surprising.
Among others who have scheduled visits are cornerback Antwon Blake, a fan favorite, of course, and nose tackle Steve McLendon, who is the biggest chip left to fall for the Steelers, and the one that they would probably most like to keep, considering their interest in the outside tackle market.
Considering the amount of attention that many of the Steelers’ free agents have gotten within the first week of free agency, it will probably not be much longer before the first one signs. I would expect that domino to fall this week, within the coming days—perhaps as early as today.