The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will the Steelers get any other major deals done with their own players before free agency opens?
The Steelers got done their primary objective of the offseason yesterday after they completed a history-making contract extension with one of their top players, All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown. And they got it done even before the month of February was up. They could in theory kick up their heels and sit back for a while.
But getting that deal done now opens a window during which they can get a lot done between now and the start of free agency. They have many players whose contracts will be expiring with the start of the new league year, some of whom they have already gone on record in saying that they would like to be able to retain.
General manager Kevin Colbert pretty much said that nothing would get done until Brown’s deal would get done. But now it’s done. And we have more than a week before free agency starts. So now what? Do we see another deal or two get done with pending free agents—notable free agents—before free agency kicks off?
Two players in particular who have been named are inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who has been a starter for this defense for the past eight seasons, and backup quarterback Landry Jones, who despite drawing mixed-to-negative reviews from the fan base is something that the team does seem to think can be their backup.
So do we see them under contract before they hit the open market? Timmons has never been made available in his career, while Jones has only just become eligible for unrestricted free agency upon the completion of his fourth season.
There are some other pretty notable names to consider as well, including James Harrison and DeAngelo Williams. Alejandro Villanueva has not yet received an exclusive rights tender, and Ross Cockrell has not been given a restricted free agent tender. Somebody please correct me if I’m wrong, but if that doesn’t happen prior to free agency opening, then they are on the market. The lack of the tags suggest that they intend to get more substantial deals done.