With free agency upon us in a few days, it’s time to start looking at the roster, and the tweaking that will be done. Here we go with a breakdown of the QB and RB spots:
This is not a real position of need for the team, but the fact that Leftwich and Batch are free agents does add some interest as to the long-term plan of the backup spot. The team would love to get Leftwich back, as he was very good when called upon in spot duty in games vs the Redskins and Browns. I wouldn’t be shocked though to see him depart with a decent deal where he could challenge for a starting spot. As for Batch, his best days are behind him, but the team loves him, and they have said they would like him back as well. Dixon is a project, and I would like to see more of him in 2009.
As for players that could come in if Leftwich and/or Batch go, a couple of names that could be of interest:
Dan Orlovsky – Started seven games for the Lions, but wants out to get a chance to start. Once he finds that he won’t be starting anywhere, I could see him fitting in nicely as a backup in Black and Gold.
Joey Harrington – Last seen with the Saints, he’s been around (7 years), and has never done all that much, but again, we’re talking about a spot where hopefully we won’t see all that much of him as the backup QB.
Kyle Boller – In five years with the Ravens he started 42 games, and had a decent year the season the Ravens won the AFC North. Again, think backup here, and a vet that can possibly come in a fill a role if needed.
Parker is the unquestioned leader of this group, and while he had an up and down year with injuries and such, there’s no mistake who the feature back is in Pittsburgh. I would like to see more of a healthy Mendenhall, who is coming off a broken shoulder. Moore was a player of great importance and the kind of free agent that paid off in a big way. Russell is a short-yardage back who needs to prove his worth from the one-yard line, and Davis is a quality fullback when the team runs a two-back set.
Free agents that could be of interest to the Steelers in this area:
Tony Richardson – He’s a real fullback and that is what the Steelers might be on the lookout for if they want to get back to running the football like they did in the Bettis Era. The Jets will do what they can though to keep Richardson, as they know his worth.
Rudi Johnson – A former thorn in the Steelers side when he was with the Bengals, Johnson was with the Lions last season, but will be out on the open market and could be an interesting signing for the Steelers if they want a decent veteran back.