For reference, the list was released today of the Steelers free agents heading into the 2013 season. It’s a myriad of talent ranging from low tier draft picks and undrafted players all the way to players drafted in the first round. As we know with the Steelers, they are more prone to taking care of their own rather than bringing high priced talent that may be available.
Will that be the case this offseason? We have to assume so unless Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and the Rooney’s decide to buck the trend. There are some players listed below that are certainly worth of being brought back and certainly will be brought back.
There is plenty of time to break down each one, and my partner Marc already started a preliminary breakdown last week. Now that the season is over, we’ll be begin to analyze each one, see how they fit in going forward, what role they can fill, if the team can afford them, etc.
Beside each name is my personal thought on whether or not the player comes back initially; stay tuned for future articles coming up on each individual one.
Players in bold blue are definite must have’s for the team, bold green are players I personally feel can and should return.
Unrestricted Free Agents (18)
Will Allen – Should Return, solid backup
Charlie Batch – If he comes back, should be 3rd string
Plaxico Burress – Good backup WR, redzone target, wouldn’t cost much.
Larry Foote – Probably returns for another year, but should give way to Spence for the future.
Ramon Foster – Must have player, can play both Guard and Tackle positions, very underrated.
Casey Hampton – Time to part ways, McClendon is ready.
Brandon Johnson – Solid backup and special teamer but fought through injuries. Should return
David Johnson – With Heath Miller not guaranteed to be ready by Sept., DJ could be useful.
Byron Leftwich – Time to part ways, too often injured and youth needed at #2 backup spot.
Doug Legursky – Must have utility lineman. Primary backup to Pouncey.
Justin King – Just signed late in the year, will have a chance to compete especially if Lewis leaves.
Keenan Lewis – Must have DB, finally realizing his potential after a great year.
Rashard Mendenhall – Damage has been done, time to cut ties.
Ryan Mundy – 50-50, likely won’t command much in free agent market.
Leonard Pope – Rarely saw the field in 2012, again if Heath isn’t ready Pope could be an asset.
Max Starks – Youth drafted in recent years, likely gone but will be missed. Rock solid.
Mike Wallace – Less than 50-50 chance to return but anything is possible. If he leaves, drafting a WR becomes paramount. I intentionally left him undecided because if he stays for the right price then obviously you bring him back, but also the team can’t afford to break the bank on him either.
Greg Warren – Solid LS, should return.
Restricted Free Agents (6)
Jonathan Dwyer – Steelers would be smart to match any offer he gets, should return. RFA’s rarely move teams and Dwyer has proven he’s got enough potential if he continues to work hard.
Jeremy Kapinos – Drew Butler didn’t have a great season, Kapinos might be an option to explore again.
Steve McLendon – He’ll return, the future at NT for the defense.
Isaac Redman – 50-50 but most feel he’ll come back. He and Dwyer, if healthy, could be the future.
Stevenson Sylvester – Injury plagued season, will have chance to fight for MLB job next season, should return.
Emmanuel Sanders – Could garner some attention in free agency, but if Wallace leaves then the team will make sure that Sanders returns.