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: What position should the Steelers realistically target on the outside free agent market?
I think by now the majority of us are familiar with the drill by now. The Steelers may dabble from time to time in free agency, but they are never going to be the home-run hitters that a certain sliver of the fan base seems to expect them to suddenly become. At least, it’s not a predictable move in their future to do that.
That is not to say that they don’t spend in free agency at times. Over the course of the past three years, they have given out a pair of contracts averaging $5 million a season to starting safety Mike Mitchell and tight end Ladarius Green. The latter hasn’t worked out so well just yet, though Mitchell’s first season in Pittsburgh didn’t draw rave reviews either.
So with all that in mind, I would like to pose the question listed above: assuming that the Steelers will target an outside free agent beneath the top tier (or two), and considering the makeup of the roster and future needs, what area of the team do you believe would be best addressed by bringing in help?
Another obvious component of this question is the pending free agent market and the players that are likely to become available. Players who are expected to be franchise or who are known to be working on long-term deals to be done before free agency starts should not factor in.
Part of the equation is also about what the Steelers will do with their own free agents. If they don’t re-sign Lawrence Timmons, then replacing him with a free-agent starter could be viewed as a possibility, much to the chagrin of the Vince Williams fan club.
Offensively, the Steelers—presumably—don’t need a quarterback. They don’t need linemen. They shouldn’t need a starting running back or a top wide receiver. They tried at tight end last year and might be leery about going to that well twice in a row.
They have their starting defensive line in place, and they probably won’t better their starting outside linebackers from the mid-tier group. Their safeties are in place as well. So perhaps the most realistic position to address might be cornerback. Do you agree?