Pro Football Weekly has a free agent preview on the AFC North, and here’s what they have on the Steelers heading into free agency.
Unsigned players: DE Eugene Bright (1), OL Dorian Brooks (1), OT Willie Colon (5), S Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith (1), QB Dennis Dixon (3), DE Nick Eason (8), DE Chris Ellis (3), OG Trai Essex (6), LB Keyaron Fox (7), CB William Gay (4), WR Tyler Grisham (1), DT Ra’Shon Harris (2), CB Tuff Harris (3), OL Tony Hills (3), NT Chris Hoke (10), OL Kyle Jolly (1), P Jeremy Kapinos (2), OG-C Doug Legursky (2), CB Anthony Madison (5), RB Mewelde Moore (7), S Ryan Mundy (2), OT Jonathan Scott (4), P Daniel Sepulveda (4), TE Matt Spaeth (4), PK Shaun Suisham (5), RB Frank Summers (2), CB Ike Taylor (8), OL Greg Warren (6), OLB LaMarr Woodley (4, franchised).
Analysis: The Steelers don’t look to make big-ticket signings in free agency, but they will target veterans who fill a need, with their signing of FS Ryan Clark in 2006 a notable example. They gave the franchise tag to Woodley, an exceptional pass rusher and run defender, in February, and he signed the tender, keeping him with the team for at least another season, with both sides attempting to work out a long-term deal. Another key defensive starter, Taylor, would draw interest if he hits free agency.
The Steelers will likely try hard to bring the eight-year veteran back. Hoke is a key member of the DL rotation; could he get an offer from a 3-4 team looking for someone to man the middle of their defensive line? Colon was the starting right tackle before suffering a knee injury that caused him to miss the 2010 season. If he returns, he might have to compete with Flozell Adams, who turns 36 in May. He also could get a look inside at guard. Scott played better after a tough start replacing the injured Max Starks at left tackle, and he enhanced his value with his play down the stretch. Gay can start in a pinch but is probably best at a reserve. Sepulveda has been very good when healthy but has had a history of serious knee injuries.
Click HERE to see the other AFC North teams.
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