2015 Steelers Free Agency Tracker: Cory Harkey


The Steelers will be players when it comes to free agency this offseason.  They need to add some key components to a few areas if they want to stay at the top of the AFC North and not have a blunder of a postseason game like they did in their latest Wild Card game.

We continue our look at potential free agent targets for when March rolls around. We’ve looked at safety and secondary, and turned attention over to the tight end position with a look at Charles Clay. I believe Clay is the best option of free agent tight ends, but the St. Louis Rams Cory Harkey is someone else the Steelers could go after.

Harkey was part of a TE duo over in St. Louis with Lance Kendricks making up the other half. Both are free agents this year. Quite honestly both are viable targets, but Harkey has some slight advantages for fitting in with the Steelers.

Harkey is the better blocker of the two. He was graded as one of the better blockers on the entire team (according to PFF and watching some brief film) while Kendricks was graded as one of the worst. Todd Haley loves to use two TE sets, and there’s nothing to say that will change any time soon.

But what about Matt Spaeth? Doesn’t he already block well?

True, Spaeth is a good blocker, but Harkey has more versatility and simply has better hands for catching passes. He reeled in eight catches for 55 yards and a touchdown in 2014. The Steelers need more TE’s who can do both. Harkey’s numbers are hardly impressive, but you have to consider that their starter, Jared Cook, and Kendricks received much of the attention. Those two combined for 79 catches, 893 yards, and 8 TD’s in 2014.

That said, Harkey will then be the more affordable of the two.  Harkey is a restricted free agent (while Kendricks will be an UFA). Kendricks might be asking for a bit more than what the Rams are wanting to pay. They have some bookkeeping to do this offseason, and Kendricks’ asking price might have them releasing Harkey’s.

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On the other hand, the Rams might decide to keep the more affordable Harkey by matching a low ball offer from another team (like the Steelers) and let Kendricks walk. I think Kendricks will be a bit too expensive for the output thus far. The former second round pick pulled in over $1 million in 2014 and will probably be asking for $2-3 million.

In my Charles Clay post, I said the Steelers could pay Clay $2-3 million, but I don’t see the same kind of offer for someone like Kendricks. $1.5 for a few seasons, yes. But, nothing more because they will need to weigh output and risk vs. dollars with great scrutiny this offseason. No more Mike Mitchell’s…. please. Plus, they may just be shelling out the cash for a top corner and can only afford someone like Harkey.

Harkey is the better option here if the Steelers let Spaeth and Michael Palmer walk and look to free agency for depth at tight end.

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