Day one of free agency is in the book, and it’s been a wild one so far. Teams like the Giants have spent big right out of the gate. The Giants signed Olivier Vernon to a record deal for defensive lineman ( 5 years-$85 million, $52.5 million guaranteed). They also inked corner Janoris Jenkins for $12.5 million a year and defensive tackle Damon Harrison for $9.25 million a year. Meanwhile the Steelers have kept with their philosophy of drafting good players, and then resigning those players to reasonable contracts. Pittsburgh signed 4 of it’s own key free agents, while signing a great prospect at tight end to a modest $5 million per year contract. As Steeler fans have come to expect, there were no flashy signings coming to Pittsburgh. What is coming, is solid players who can help the Steelers once again compete for a Super Bowl. Let’s go through the Steeler’s signings so far.
- Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR) – Heyward-Bey may seem like a irrelevant signing, but he is an important special teams player for the Steelers. Bey also gives you a above average 4th or 5th wide receiver. He still has great speed, and made some big catches last season. At 3 years and $3.8 million, his contract certainly won’t break the bank.
- Robert Golden (S) – Golden has been predominately a special teams player for Pittsburgh up to now. He did show flashes at safety last season, and stands to be the starting strong safety this season. To have a young starting safety at 3 years and less then $2 million per season is quite a bargain. Not to mention Golden was special teams captain last year.
- William Gay (CB) – Pittsburgh once again got a bargain by resigning one of it’s own free agents. Gay signed a 3 year, 4.5 million dollar contract prior to the free agency period starting. Gay is a solid veteran corner, who knows the Steelers system inside and out. This signing allows Pittsburgh to bring Senquez Golson along slowly. Golson is a highly regarded second round pick from last year, who missed the entire season due to a shoulder injury.
- Ramon Foster (G) – Another solid veteran the Steelers are able to bring back at a very cap friendly price. Ramon Foster comes back for 3 years, at only $5.5 million. This is important for several reasons, including keeping an offensive line together that may have been Pittsburgh’s best in several years. Keeping Foster also helps second year tackle Alejandro Villanueva continue to develop. The two played well together side by side last season.
- Ladarius Green (TE) – The former San Diego Charger tight end came as quite a surprise signing for the Steelers. Green is not a typical Steeler tight end, known more for his receiving then his blocking. At 6’6″, and 240 pounds, Green will be a huge target for Ben Roethlisberger to throw to. Defenses around the league began to frustrate Roethlisberger by playing deep, and not letting the Steelers to get big plays down the field. With a weapon like Green running through the middle of the field, safties will be forced to play shallower and more centrally. This will allow receivers like Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant to get behind them for big plays. At 4 years and $20 million, this contract could end up being a great deal for the Steelers.