We are now at a point during the offseason in which we find ourselves looking at training camp just around the corner for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the rest of the league, and a lot has changed for them over the course of the past several months. They have lost a number of players in free agency, through releases, and retirements. But they have also brought in a number of new faces to replace them.
We all know that roster turnover is an ever-present reality for today’s rosters, and it seems that over the course of the past half-decade or so even the Steelers have proven to be as susceptible to the annual shakeup as anybody. With that in mind, we should take the time to get to know some of the new faces with training camp soon to be here.
I’m really not sure how, but it managed to slip my mind earlier in this series that the Steelers signed defensive lineman Tyson Alualu in free agency, so I failed to include him while I was discussing the other free agents that the team signed.
As we covered yesterday, though, all four of their free agent additions from the main signing period are staking claims early on for potential spots on the 53-man roster, even if Alualu is likely the only one of the group that absolutely has one locked up.
The former first-round pick was also their most significant, and most costly, signing in free agency, earning for himself a two-year contract with $6 million. He will get $3 million each year, but the majority of his first-year salary comes in the form of a signing bonus.
Originally (over)drafted by the Jaguars in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Alualu never became a star in the league, but he has carved out a very solid career for himself, starting for the majority of that time and even surviving multiple regime and scheme changes.
It was not until last season that he ever missed a game, and it was not due to health. He was a healthy scratch for the first two games, but played the other 14 games, and there was, frankly, not good reason for his being asked to take a seat.
With the Steelers, he will not have a starting role, but he will certainly be active, and he will get playing time. As a matter of fact, getting him playing time will accomplish something that the team has been looking to achieve for years, which is to get their starters some rest.
Alex Kozora has come away impressed so far during training camp about the athlete that he is for his size, which is encouraging, especially after he missed most of the spring with an injury. He has been working with the first-team defense whenever one of the starting ends have been out.