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 be interested in any of the free agents that they lost in 2016?
The Pittsburgh Steelers lost a number of players in free agency last year, although few of them signed a contract of any sort of significance. The biggest deal proved to be the one signed by Steve McLendon for three years to be the Jets’ nose tackle after the Jaguars declined to pick up Kelvin Beachum’s option.
Because of that, many of those same players, who spent a varying amount of time with the organization, are once again already on or will be on the open market again, which means that the Steelers will have the opportunity to add them back to the roster.
And they have had a history in recent years of adding players back that they allowed to walk in free agency, or even have released, in James Harrison’s case. Will Allen’s signing with the Cowboys is another recent example of their willingness to reunite with players they have lost.
Among those back on the market are Sean Spence, Terence Garvin, and Valentino Blake, all of whom were at one time or another fixtures on special teams. Spence and Blake in particular have also played significant roles on defense in the past, while Garvin saw snaps in the goal line package.
If any of them could be had for a veteran-minimum contract, which is not unlikely at all, it would not be surprising if the Steelers express interest in a reunion. It’s worth noting that neither of those three players signed a veteran-minimum deal last year.
Beachum is obviously a player that many teams would like, but his asking price will keep the Steelers from being in his market, as they already believe that they have found their left tackle, and perhaps his backup as well, and Beachum is obviously not returning for backup money.
Should McLendon end up hitting the market if the Jets decide to release him, I think he would be the most likely target for the Steelers, as he is still a talented player and they could use depth along the defensive line. McLendon could play both defensive end and nose tackle. But, of course, he’s one of I believe only two former Steelers free agents who are not back on the market.