I’m an old curmudgeon when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers being active in free agency. However, being as they have some salary cap space to play with this year and combined with the fact the team has made a few early splashes in free agency in each of the last three years, I thought I would throw out a few names of players that might interest the Steelers starting today for the sake of some legal tampering period discussion.
Alterraun Verner – After being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, Verner has reportedly already received calls from interested teams. His fall from grace in Tampa Bay happened very quickly as he was a solid player during his final year with the Tennessee Titans. Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake has a history with Verner as the two spent one season together at UCLA. Verner might could be a stop-gap slot option for the Steelers if the price is right. Verner can also play on special teams and he’s still only 28 years old.
Captain Munnerlyn – Munnerlyn has been mentioned previously by Alex Kozora and with good reason as he can definitely play in the slot. With that said, he will turn 29 very soon and is reportedly looking for a four or five-year deal that will average more than the $4.2 million that he made in 2016. The fact that Munnerlyn failed to record an interception last season along with just 3 defensed passes will likely keep his market price down.
Prince Amukamara – Amukamara is a former first-round draft pick who has had injury and lack of production knocks him since he was drafted in the first round several years ago. While he did finally stay healthy for the most part last season, he still missed a few games early in the year. Amukamara isn’t likely to command big money because of his failure to make splash plays last year with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
John Simon – While not an every-down edge player, Simon is a more than adequate backup and at 26 years of age might be considered an upgrade over Arthur Moats. He might ultimately be one of the best bargains on the free agent market this year. The Steelers should know quite a bit about Simon as not only did he play his college football at Ohio State, he was also brought in for a pre-draft visit back in 2013.
Nickell Robey-Coleman – NRC isn’t sexy at all and especially due to his short stature. Even so, he had a decent year coverage-wise in the slot last season and isn’t afraid to stick his face in the fan. While no team should tie their wagon to Robey-Coleman as a long-term player, he can provide a short-term fix for a team who plans to draft and develop a slot cornerback this year. NRC can also give teams a little something on special teams as well and his price tag right now should be very affordable.
Brandon Flowers – The Los Angeles Chargers released Flowers on Tuesday and he’ll now get a small head-start on free agency. He can play in the slot, but it needs to be pointed out that he just turned 31 years of age and missed 10 games last season due to injuries that included him suffering a few concussions. The Steelers also don’t usual go after defensive free agents on the wrong side of 30. Any team that does sign Flowers will view him as a short-term fix and thus I don’t expect he’ll get big money.
Brian Hoyer – If the Steelers wind up losing Landry Jones during the early stages of free agency, perhaps they should consider bringing back Hoyer, who spent a few weeks with the team several years ago. His market value figures to be very low right now at 31 and he would provide the Steelers some experience behind Ben Roethlisberger for the next season or two the way Bruce Gradkowski did.
As you can see, this list of players is short and none of them are regarded as being top-tier players. I will now let all of you have fun poking holes in these potential free agent targets and add your own in the comments below.