In the NFL there’s an adage that says good teams build through the draft and bad ones try via free agency. The truth is you need both to build a Super Bowl contender, and year after year the Pittsburgh Steelers front office excels at both.
For example, this past offseason the Steelers made several shrewd personnel moves that gave them much-needed depth at three key positions, and none of them came through the draft.
1. DeAngelo Williams
In March Pittsburgh signed veteran running back DeAngelo Williams to a two-year, $4 million contract. It’s a small investment for a player with a long track record of success, and right now it looks like one of the better under-the-radar moves by any NFL team this year.
Through two games Williams has rushed for 204 yards and three touchdowns. First, he positively had his way with the Patriots in the season opener:
Then for an encore Williams made the San Francisco 49ers bleed in the red zone.
A lot of credit has to go to Pittsburgh’s offensive linemen, who have exceeded expectations in the absence of Maurkice Pouncey. Still, Williams’ game has been a pleasant surprise for the Steelers and their fans.
Now that Le’Veon Bell has returned from his suspension Williams will be relegated to a backup role, but at this point in his career Williams seems happy with it.
In addition to having the NFL’s top passing offense, the Steelers may well now also have one of the league’s best one-two punches at running back. For two million a year Williams is a steal. Hats off to Kevin Colbert for bringing in a solid piece at a discount price.