As the 2015 season is now in the rearview mirror for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2016. On March 9th, all 2015 contracts set to expire will do so making those players free agents.
Today I’m looking at the Steelers’ free agents on the defensive line. One thing to preface, if the Steelers continue to move towards a 4-3 which is rumored, this could change things.
DT Steve McLendon (Unrestricted Free Agent) – McLendon has always been a mystery to me. Some plays he’s the most destructive force on the field and then others he disappears into thin air. In past years, he struggled to remain healthy for the entire season but managed to play all 18 games in 2015. At the age of 30, I’m really on the fence about his future in black and gold. Because the unit is already thin I can see him staying but I can also see another team over-paying for his services as well.
Prediction: Despite my gut feeling, I think he’s back.
DE Cam Thomas (Unrestricted Free Agent) – Better known in these parts as Cam “F——” Thomas, I think the ship has finally sailed on his time in Pittsburgh. While he wasn’t the total liability he was in 2014, the Steelers can and should do better here. He has not recorded a full sack since 2011 and had just 11 tackles this season. Granted, in the Steelers’ system he isn’t supposed to garner big numbers but those are pretty weak in my opinion.
Prediction: They’ll be tempted but I think Thomas leaves.
The core of this group is solid with Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt but upgrades are necessary. Dan McCullers has shown some promise in the interior but I’m not sure they are sold on his long-term potential. Adding depth here is critical in the offseason.