Tuesday was a very important day when it comes to the NFL calendar as it was the deadline for any free agent signings to affect next year’s compensatory pick total. In short, teams may now sign unrestricted free agents from other teams without those signings being counted against them in the compensatory formula.
In case you’re curious, Over the Cap currently projects that the Pittsburgh Steelers will receive a 2018 fifth-round compensatory draft pick for their loss of linebacker Lawrence Timmons to the Miami Dolphins during the main part of free agency.
While the Steelers also lost unrestricted free agents, wide receiver Markus Wheaton and linebacker Jarvis Jones, to the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals, respectively, during the main portion of the signing period, the team’s signings of outside unrestricted free agents defensive end Tyson Alualu and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh are expected to easily cancel those loses out as far as the compensatory formula is concerned. Additionally, the NFL generally only awards 32 compensatory draft picks in total every year.
With outside unrestricted free signings no longer counting against the compensatory formula moving forward into the offseason, there’s still a decent chance the Steelers might add another player or two between now and the start of training camp. Recently, in fact, the team apparently hosted free agent safety Tre Boston for a visit, however, at the time of this post it seems likely he’ll ultimately sign elsewhere.
As expected, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert isn’t ruling out the possibility of free agent players being added to the team in the future.
“We’ll see what other teams have and if anybody gets cut, we’d certainly would look at them,” Colbert said during a Wednesday chat with Steelers Nation Unite members. But really, everybody’s roster is set at 90 at this stage of the game. There’ll be some shuffling as we all go through our minicamps and such, like teams did last weekend and we’re doing this weekend, and there may or may not be people getting cut.
“But we just have to wait and see what’s available, but pretty much everybody has the folks they have available to them. There may be a veteran or two that comes out and again, if somebody comes out, we’ll certainly take a look at them, but we’re anxious to see what we got with this group of 90.”
Colbert was later asked by a fan if there are any additional needs the team hopes to address prior to training camp getting underway and once again he gave a very expected answer.
“Well, we’ll continue to look at veteran players as I mentioned before that may end up being cut and available to us,” said Colbert. “We don’t know who those players are. We’re not looking for any specific position, we just look at the player that shows up that’s available and we’ll see if that player can help us regardless of position, because we’re never averse to adding as many as we can. So, we really don’t know that pool of players until teams start cutting players, which will happen up into June.”
Right before the 2016 regular season got underway the Steelers claimed quarterback Zach Mettenberger off waivers from the San Diego Chargers and he ultimately served as the No. 3 on the depth chart at his position the entire year. Additionally, the Steelers traded a sixth-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for cornerback Justin Gilbert just prior to the start of the 2016 regular season and like Mettenberger, he spent the entire year on the team’s 53-man roster.