The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: What will the Steelers’ top priority be in outside free agency in 2019?
While the Steelers are never big players in the primary free agency period, that is often because they have very little cap space to spend. They won’t have as much as many might think this year, but they will have enough to work with, or work around, if they really have a particular target in mind.
It’s not as though they won’t have obvious positions to target. As has pretty much always been the case for the past several years, outside linebacker and cornerback figure to be on the top of the list, not to mention inside linebacker…and there’s a possibility that wide receiver becomes a high priority as well.
Obviously there are a lot of variables to consider, pertaining to which players actually make it to free agency and how the draft shakes out at any given position, but I think the stars could align for the Steelers to make a move at cornerback in outside free agency this year.
Depending on what the Steelers decide to do with Bud Dupree on his fifth-year option, outside linebacker could be a major target. If they choose to release him rather than pay his $9 million-plus salary, and fail to re-sign him, then chances are good they will look for a starter in free agency—obviously not on the top of the market, but somebody.
Inside linebacker is screaming for an influx of talent, because nobody on the roster is an above average starter. Many would say that none of them are even average. Not that the market at inside linebacker is going to be great this year either outside of C.J. Mosley, and let’s be honest, they’re not going to sign him.