In a matter of 24 hours, the Pittsburgh Steelers have retained the services of three players they believe to be important pieces in terms of getting this team back to the Super Bowl.
On Monday, the Steelers re-signed both Robert Golden and Darrius Heyward-Bey to three year contracts and then today, Steelers’ cornerback William Gay announced via his Instagram account that he has signed a new deal to stay in the Steel City. Contract details were not available at the time of this writing.
What is clear is that the Steelers are following a plan we’ve seen before. They are taking care of guys that have played with them previously and who bring depth and stability to the team. Gay will no doubt return as a starting cornerback; he was the team’s most consistent player in that position in 2015. Golden will likely serve as the top reserve safety and will continue his play on special teams while Heyward-Bey remains a likely fifth wideout and major contributor to the special teams’ units.
With the official start of free agency not until 4pm ET Wednesday, attention turns to a couple of other Steelers looking for new deals. We’ve known for some time that the team is likely facing the ultimatum of having to choose between Kelvin Beachum and Ramon Foster. The likelihood they retain both is small.
My best guess is that with the emergence of Alejandro Villanueva, Beachum becomes more expendable than Foster.
Another key player up for consideration is nose tackle Steve McLendon. At 31 years of age and a deep pool of similar players in the draft, McLendon can’t over-price himself and then end up on the outside looking in. He’s a very capable player and one that is needed along a defensive front that needs bodies right now.
This is what the Steelers do. They take care of the players they need to before moving outside the organization when the actual open free agent market begins. It’s a paradigm that has worked well for the most part and they don’t appear to be deviating from it in 2016.
Photo courtesy fansided.com