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: Whose agents will the Steelers be contacting at noon when the ‘legal tampering’ window opens today?
It was in recent years that the league acknowledged that a certain level of tampering goes on prior to the official opening of free agency in which teams contact players’ agents to discuss contracts before the start of the league year. In addressing this, they installed a ‘legal tampering’ window that gives teams the ability to talk with agents a couple of days in advance.
The window for the 2017 season opens today at noon, and ends the second before 4 PM on Thursday, when the league year begins and free agency officially opens. It is at that point that a flurry of official activity begins (teams cannot formally agree to terms and contracts are not final before free agency officially opens).
While the Steelers have not been a team that has been a first-minute signee, they have had some first-day activity in recent years, and it should go without saying that they along with everyone else are going to be making phone calls and inquiring about prices and gauging interest.
The team does have a bit more wiggle room with the salary cap than they have had in some time, and there have been reports that are being taken with varying degrees of sincerity depending upon whom you ask that they may make a serious go at the top end of the cornerback market.
The team may not have any glaring, immediately essential needs in the starting lineup, but they certainly have plenty of areas targeted for improvement, and given their waning championship window, it wouldn’t be surprising if their phone activity sees an uptick this year.
So who are the Steelers calling tomorrow? Who should they be calling? We will know a lot more in a couple of days after free agency opens, but for now we are still left guessing.