While it doesn’t come from nothing, the Pittsburgh Steelers do have an advantage in owning a reputation that precedes them. They are regarded as one of the premiere franchises in modern NFL history, both in terms of success and stability. Both of those qualities are attractive, for example, to free agents, many of whom find homes here in Pittsburgh after signing.
The Steelers brought in some significant names late via free agency over the course of the past month or so, which is not exactly their norm, but some of that was dictated by factors out of their control, such ad David DeCastro’s bad ankle.
The team let him go after an MRI revealed that he would need surgery, and they used some of the cap savings from that move to sign Trai Turner, a five-time Pro Bowler with whom they’d already visited, on the same day. Speaking to reporters yesterday, he talked about his first impressions, as well as his overall, of Pittsburgh.
“When I first met the coaches, it was a good vibe”, he said. “The facilities are really nice. I can’t speak more about the team. On paper, you put this team down, you can match it up and compare with anybody. It just felt like I had a really good opportunity to come here, and do some good things”.
DeCastro was rightfully a well-liked player around here, both on the field and in the locker room. He’s the sort of guy you don’t just ‘replace’, and Turner is well aware of that, making sure to avoid that conversation. He simply views himself as “the new left guard”.
Chances are, Turner’s stint in Pittsburgh will be a short one, though you never know. He signed just a one-year deal worth $3 million, pretty much just because they really needed another guard. Granted, they’ll need another guard next year, but if Turner plays to a level that is worth re-signing, then he’ll most likely get a deal in free agency that the Steelers won’t match.
But as I talked about recently in relation to Ingram, there are plenty of examples of players who were recruited first from outside of the organization who weren’t long in falling in line with the culture and embracing it. Even someone like Alejandro Villanueva, who’s now with the Baltimore Ravens, fits into that conversation.