If you’re one of those Steelers’ fans who goes ballistic every time the team doesn’t sign big name free agents then you probably don’t understand what they do. The approach has long been used by the Steelers and for the most part it has been hard to say it hasn’t been successful.
The team has always believed that you build through the draft and use free agents to fill in gaps especially in terms of depth and an occasional starter. With the rival New England Patriots stacking the deck for another Super Bowl run, Steelers’ fans are frustrated. They’ve seen their team re-sign Landry Jones and David Johnson and that’s been it.
With cornerback Ross Cockrell getting the lowest round tender, common sense suggests the Steelers are OK if he returns and OK if he doesn’t. The problem is that the team has been unable to find a free agent corner at the right price. That leaves Cockrell not looking so bad. Of course he’d look better if he were a depth player but right now he’s still looking like the starter.
Rolling the dice would be a good way to describe what General Manager Kevin Colbert and company are doing. They are putting a lot of faith in Senquez Golson, a former second round pick who has all of three career practices under his belt in two years. From everything I’ve been told, Golson is healthy and looks excellent. I’ll root hard for the kid, obviously, but I don’t share Colbert’s optimism.
The team is also rolling the dice with the draft. With so many good cornerbacks to choose from you would think they could possibly come away with a bust but this has happened before right?
Not being able to find a potential starter yet in free agency also means the Steelers will have less time to focus on other positions. The thought process was to be able to sign a Dre Kirkpatrick or even a Marcus Cooper but the price has been too high. While I respect the Steelers’ process of not over-paying, you have to wonder if this isn’t the year they should have spent some cash.
The AFC North will be weaker than it has been in quite some time and once again the Steelers will likely have to stare down the Patriots if they want to get to the Super Bowl.
The Steelers put a lot of faith in their coaching and player development but when you’re franchise quarterback is nearing the end perhaps they should have changed the way they do things. Only time will tell.