Steelers continue to get poor returns on their free agent investments
The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t known for going big in free agency. Here’s why they continue to get poor returns out of their free-agent investments.
It doesn’t matter how you try to spin it, the Steelers just haven’t been very good when it comes to signing free agents under head coach Mike Tomlin. Unfortunately, that trend doesn’t look likes it is going to end any time soon.
Pittsburgh invested a whopping $21 million between Donte Moncrief and Mark Barron over the next two seasons – an investment they are probably wishing they had back at this point.
Both Moncrief and Barron were dreadful in their first action against the Patriots. Mark Barron was constantly picked on by Tom Brady and his trio of running backs. He was poor in coverage, and he allowed one chunk play after another.
Donte Moncrief wasn’t just bad against New England; he had one of the worst games I have ever seen from a Steelers receiver. Moncrief caught just 3 of 7 targets for 10 yards and was credited with 4 dropped passes.
The Steelers hit on Alejandro Villanueva back in 2014. but that was partially due to the brilliance of former offensive line coach, Mike Munchak. Villanueva took years to develop but Munchak was able to help take a former college wide receiver and mold him into a Pro Bowl left tackle.
Outside of Villanueva, successful free agent signings have been few and far between. Mike Mitchell was a solid player for a few years, and DeAngelo Williams served his purpose. The verdict is still out on cornerback Steven Nelson.
Ryan Clark was a great player for the Steelers, but he was signed all the way back in 2006 when Bill Cowher was still running the show.
Kevin Colbert and the Steelers have always been sold on their philosophy of not spending big in free agency and using the money saved to retain their own players. However, when you miss on guys like Artie Burns, Jarvis Jones, or even Bud Dupree, they have elected not to use that money for a high-quality free agent signing.
I wrote an article three months ago about how I thought the Steelers overpaid for Mark Barron. With the money they spent between both Barron and Moncrief, they could have put that towards a much better football player.
Moncrief and Barron need to get their acts together quickly and start making plays that are going to benefit this team. Otherwise, they are just going to confirm what we already know; that Mike Tomlin’s Steelers aren’t good at signing free agents.