Before you see the picture above and tell me it’ll never happen… relax, this isn’t that kind of write up.
Typically when free agency starts in an NFL season, the Steelers aren’t major players. However, wise Steelers fans will still pay attention to where some of the bigger names end up.
Why? Because teams filling needs on their roster has a huge impact on the NFL draft, and what players may fall to the Steelers’ selection.
The Steelers won’t be showing any interest in Darrelle Revis if he hits the open market, but him leaving New England could still help the team out, as I’ll describe below.
I’ve decided to put together just a few scenarios that I think may be beneficial to the Steelers, and a brief explanation as to why.
Darrelle Revis Leaves New England
Besides severely weakening an AFC power, Revis leaving the Patriots would be beneficial to the Steelers in another way. I think that Revis has shown throughout his career he’s more concerned with getting paid than playing for a contender, so he would likely go to the highest bidder… which would probably be a non-playoff team. Someone like Minnesota, New Orleans, Miami, or Philadelphia could be potential landing spots. Any of those teams could be a landing spot for Trae Waynes. If Revis went to one, then there’s a small, but better chance of Waynes reaching the Steelers’ pick.
Byron Maxwell Signs with Miami
This is really the same reasons as the above. I see the Eagles as the most likely to grab Waynes before the Steelers. We just need some of the big name corners on the market not to sign with someone like New England, Detroit, Green Bay, etc. or any team picking after the Steelers.
Philadelphia Being Big Spenders and/or Trading up for Mariota
Looking at the Eagles needs, they’re nearly all the same as the Steelers. They’ll likely be pursuing a lot of the same guys the Steelers will come draft day. They’ll likely be interested in Trae Waynes, Landon Collins, Jalen Collins, or even possibly an edge rusher. If they fill some of those needs in free agency, or move up for Mariota in the draft it would definitely benefit Pittsburgh.
Atlanta Signs Brian Orakpo
When filling out mock drafts, it’s been nearly unanimous that Atltanta will choose an edge rusher with the 8th pick in the draft. It seems like a team picking so far ahead of thrm wouldn’t have much effect on the Steelers’ draft plans, but with every spot that a rusher slips past, the better the chance one of those “big 5” edge guys falls to 22.
Michael Johnson returns to Cincinnati
I’ve heard that he could be cut in Tampa, and there would be a mutual interest in a reunion in Cincinnati. The Bengals desperately need help along the defensive line, and filling that DE spot could mean they opt for an interior lineman instead.
Cleveland Re-Signs Jordan Cameron
I don’t think this happens, but maybe they go after Julius Thomas. If you’re a fan of Maxx Williams, I think that the Browns are one of the few teams ahead of the Steelers that could be interested in him. Quarterbacks in Cleveland have struggled, and a guy like Maxx could help make their lives easier.
Minnesota, San Diego, Buffalo add Running Backs
This one seems a little strange, but hear me out. Supposedly this year is the “return of the running back” in the early stages of the draft. Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon are the two that will probably go in round 1. I see the above teams as ones that will be interested in these guys.
My hope is one or both is available when the Steelers are on the clock. Detroit, Arizona, Carolina, and Baltimore pick after Pittsburgh, and there’s no way Gurley and/or Gordon makes it past all those teams. If a team like the Colts, Patriots, or Jaguars wanted to make a move for a RB, the Steelers are the perfect spot to trade up to. Personally, this is my favorite scenario.