Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette has mentioned a few times recently he thinks that the Steelers could get more active than usual in free agency to fill starting spots.
Keep in mind “more active” basically means a small amount of activity.
No, the Steelers are not going to go grab some pro bowl player to fill in at Wide Receiver or Safety… But they’ve shown in the past they can win with guys that nobody else wanted. Think Jeff Hartings, James Farrior, and Ryan Clark.
I’m just starting to get into draft mode, and my initial thought was that there’s some really talented pass catchers in the first round of this draft… However, I also started looking into free agency and there is going to be a wide range of guys that could fill the #2 receiver spot across from Antonio Brown.
Signing a guy to play receiver would allow the Steelers to get a little younger on the defensive side (where I think they need more help than the offense).
Wide Receiver is also a position that’s typically a little easier to step in and make an impact quickly regardless of scheme, which isn’t really the case in Dick Lebeau’s complex system.
Here are some of the names that will be searching for new contracts very soon…
Eric Decker, James Jones, Riley Cooper, Anquan Boldin, Julian Edelman, Hakeem Nicks, Jeremy Maclin, Dexter McCluster, Golden Tate, Kenny Britt, Devin Hester, Emmanuel Sanders, Jacoby Jones, Doug Baldwin, Andre Roberts, Danario Alexander.
Some of those guys like Decker, Nicks, and Maclin are probably out of the Steelers’ price range, however once they sign that’s one less team to compete with when offering a contract.
A guy like Golden Tate or Doug Baldwin could step in and be a solid second option at receiver.
Or, the Steelers could roll the dice on a Kenny Britt or Danario Alexander who have some issues (inconsistency with Britt, and injuries with Alexander) and potentially have a “boom” type of signing if they pan out.
Dexter McCluster is an intriguing option as well. McCluster was Todd Haley’s personal project when he was coaching the Chiefs.
He could potentially come in to improve the kick return game as well as be the lightening out of the backfield that many hoped Larod Stephens-Howling would be.
All of these scenarios could be a pipe dream, but as they say… Desperate times calls for desperate measures.