Recapping the Steelers free agency moves to this point

Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II and head coach Mike Tomlin Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II and head coach Mike Tomlin Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

Free agency has played out mostly as I thought it would so far for the Steelers. Here’s a recap of Pittsburgh’s offseason moves.

So the first week of free agency is ‘in the rearview mirror’ and the Steelers had either an eventful or an uneventful start to free agency, depending on your perspective and depending on the ‘camp’ in which you reside.

What I mean by that is this:  In a previous article, I wrote about how Steelers fans should not expect anything ‘crazy’ in terms of signing ‘top tier’ free agents.  What I thought we were going to do was attempt to sign some of our own free agents.

For the most part, that is exactly what we did; we re-signed some of our own and signed some free agents from other teams; however, if you were expecting or anticipating that we would throw money at free agents because of some perceived need or perceived desire to keep a particular player from signing with another team, you were no doubt disappointed.

I, for one, was not entirely disappointed as I have been dealing with free agency since the time before the current free agency existed.  As a general rule, the Steelers will not make a ‘big splash’ unless it is beneficial for the team, e.g. unless we can sign a ‘top tier’ free agent at a ‘team friendly’ salary.

The Steelers were able to take care of some of our own during the first week of free agency

If you think about it, free agency for us really started with the restructuring of the contract of our current franchise and future Hall of Fame QB, Ben Roethlisberger.  Frankly, what ‘Big Ben’ did for the team by reworking his deal in the manner in which he did enabled us to sign the players we were able to either re-sign or to sign.

Yes, other players agreed to restructure their contracts, which was a boon for the Steelers, to be sure, but ‘Big Ben’ had the most enormous cap liability of them all. While we were able to take care of some of our own prior to the official start of free agency, the Steelers were busy during the first week of free agency.

We were able to (re)sign the following players: Joe Haeg, Miles Killebrew, and Cassius Marsh.  Marsh was signed by the Steelers late in the 2020 season.  Robert Spillane, who started seven games in 2020.  Chris Wormley, for whom we traded a 2021 fifth-round pick.  Tyler Simmons, who signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent.

Cameron Sutton, who started six games in 2020, continued the free-agent signing along with a WR whom I wanted the Steelers to re-sign, JuJu Smith-Schuster.  I was honestly concerned that Smith-Schuster would sign elsewhere, but, fortunately, that did not come to fruition, at least for the 2021 season.

Rounding out the free-agent signings during the official first week of free agency was an OT who was the starter to begin the 2020 season.  Zach Banner, the aforementioned OT, was lost to injury in the first game of the 2020 season.  I think it will be interesting to see if he can bounce back in 2021.

Related Story. 3 Steelers draft prospects that no one is talking about, but should. light

So let’s recap the above.  As I stated earlier in the conversation, the Steelers had either an eventful or uneventful first week of free agency.  Personally, I am not surprised that we signed the players we signed.  We were able to re-sign some of our own free agents with free agents from other teams ‘sprinkled in’ for good measure.

This is what I consider to be the norm for the Steelers at this time of the year.