Steelers free agency attack plan
While the Steelers should have some cap space in 2024, I want to make sure that we are spending smartly in order to maximize our funds to craft the best possible roster. I want one huge name, even if it comes with a bigger price tag, as well as two more fill-in starters on smaller deals. Beyond that, cheap contracts/veteran minimums are the name of the game.
For my crown jewel, I look to the defensive line for an immediate impact player. Christian Wilkins would slot in nicely, as he has developed into a capable defensive lineman and would be a force alongside Cameron Heyward and Keeanu Benton. He won’t come cheap, but he would beef up this defensive line.
This also allows you to keep a lineman on the draft board if the right player falls to you. Heyward isn’t getting any younger, so finding a potential replacement has to be on our minds. Wilkins provides some leeway though, as he can hold down an end spot once Heyward hangs up his cleats. Bringing him in would be costly, but well worth it.
I look to the secondary for both of my mid-tier options. Starting at cornerback, I really want to lock down a capable slot defender for this defense, as it opens the door for some flexibility in sub-packages.
Tavierre Thomas has become one of the best slot defenders in the league. The former undrafted free agent has risen up the ranks and has become quite a force. Adding him gives you stability there, something that hasn’t been in that position since Mike Hilton was around. This also leaves only one outside cornerback spot up for grabs, and ideally either Rush or Trice can win that spot.
Strong safety is my next target. The safety market has been deflated in recent seasons, and that will likely be the case again this season as a slew of capable names are set to enter free agency. This means that the team can get a viable starter for relatively cheap.
Two names stick out as potential options for a fair price. Kyle Dugger is a box player with some hybrid linebacker appeal who has played extremely well for the Patriots. Jordan Whitehead has been an ironman for the Jets and is more versatile. Either would look good in a Steelers uniform and would provide this team with some more stability at the position.
Looking at the offense now, I want to lock up a veteran slot receiver for a cheaper price than what Allen Robinson is making. Tyler Boyd would be my first choice, but he may be too expensive, especially with the rest of the moves I’ve outlined above. Nelson Agholor is a cheaper option who could fill that role as well.
A happy medium would be Cedrick Wilson. I was all over him when he came out as a potential late-round pick, and while his success in Dallas never translated to the Dolphins, I would be happy to give him a shot. His contract would likely be somewhere in between Agholor’s and Boyd’s.
Finally, I’m adding a running back on the cheap. I’m looking for some speed, as this backfield is lacking that element, and Matt Breida or Clyde Edwards-Helaire would make sense to me. Both will be cheap and good compliments for serving as the third back for this team.