With the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine now wrapped up the Pittsburgh Steelers are now readying themselves for the start of free agency. While the official signing period doesn’t begin until March 9, the always entertaining legal tampering period will get underway in roughly 24 hours from now.
Over the course of the last three years we’ve seen the Steelers make immediate and in a few cases, somewhat surprising signings at the start of free agency. In 2014 the Steelers signed safety Mike Mitchell to a five-year, $25 million free agent contract on March 14, which was the first full day of free agency that year. In 2015, the Steelers signed veteran running back DeAngelo Williams to a two-year, $4 million contract on March 15, the third full day of free agency that year. And just last year, the Steelers signed tight end Ladarius Green to a four-year, $20 million free agent contract on March 10, the first night of free agency.
Coupled with their short history of quick free agent signings is the fact that the Steelers have some expendable salary cap space ahead of this year’s signing period. With that said, they might use some of it to re-sign a few of their own players who are set to become unrestricted free agents in linebacker Lawrence Timmons and quarterback Landry Jones. Additionally, at some point between now and the start of the regular season the Steelers are expected to sign defensive end Stephon Tuitt to a long-term contract extension and quite possibly even tackle Alejandro Villanueva.
Over the course of the last several days we’ve seen the Steelers linked to several players who are about to become free agents on March 9 and leading that list are wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, cornerback Darrelle Revis and quarterback Mike Glennon. In theory, one could easily speculate that if the Steelers were to make an early splash this year in free agency it would include a cornerback being signed.
According to the top-100 free agent list that NFL.com recently put together, Pryor is ranked ninth overall. To add on to that, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported recently on Twitter that Pryor is expected to land a contract that will pay him between $10-$12 million per season. If that’s not enough, sources have also reportedly told Robinson that Glennon is expected to land a contract that will pay him between $14-$15 million per season. Yikes!
By the way, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who several Steelers fans have asked me about since he was released by the New York Jets last week, is ranked 33rd on the NFL.com list even though he’ll turn 33 this month.
As for the prospects of the Steelers signing Kirkpatrick or Revis to play opposite second-year cornerback Artie Burns in 2017, NFL.com has the former ranked 41st on their list and the latter isn’t ranked at all.
In short, I will be surprised if the Steelers sign any of the players that I named in this post, but with that said, I never saw the Steelers signing Mitchell or Green, either.
So, will the Steelers make an early free agency splash for a fourth year in a row? We don’t have very long to wait to find out the answer to that question.