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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Second-level free agent options

The Steelers lost out on a pair of corners they had in for visits earlier this week as Patrick Robinson signed with San Diego and Sterling Moore with Tampa Bay.

That caused plenty of teeth gnashing on Twitter, but those two are hardly the only options still available.

Here are some players the Steelers could still look at:

Tarell Brown, Oakland - Brown spent 2014 in Oakland, but was a very solid starter before that in San Francisco. He just turned 30, so the Steelers wouldn't necessarily make a long-term investment, but Brown has 11 career interceptions, including four as a starter for the 49ers in 2011.

Zach Bowman, Giants - Bowman played the No. 3 spot last year for the Giants and picked off a pair of passes. He had three in 2013 playing for Chicago. He'll turn 31 during this season, but like Brown, he could certainly step in for a year or two and help out.

Kyle Wilson, Jets - I know, the Jets' secondary was awful last season and Wilson was a part of that. He never lived up to being a first-round draft pick in New York, but the Jets also always seemed to have talented guys ahead of him - at least until last year. A change of scenery - and scheme - might do the trick. Sign him to a one-year prove-it deal and see if he works out.

Josh Gordy, Indianapolis - Antonio Brown's former teammate at Central Michigan has played both corner and free safety in his career, which would give the Steelers some flexibility. He also has five interceptions in limited playing time in the past four seasons.

Sam Acho, Arizona - There isn't much left at outside linebacker unless the Steelers want to roll the dice on an older player such as Anthony Spencer or Dwight Freeney. But they have James Harrison to fall back on later this summer if they want to go that route. Acho is a guy who kind of got lost in the wash in Arizona. He had seven sacks as a rookie in 2011 and has 13 in his career. He's still 26, so there's some possible upside.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Man, that list is depressingly bad, it just goes to show how poorly Colbert has managed this roster. He has presided over the gutting of the Steelers, especially the defense, while providing no depth at all with terrible draft picks and very poor FA signings.

Last year, the Steelers lucked out with the Keisel and Harrison signings. Those two guys literally signed right before the season to bail out the Steelers, because Colbert didn't bring in anyone good enough to take their roster spots. Now, with Keisel gone, you (and Colbert, I am sure) are thinking Harrison will be there again if needed. IF? Of course he will be needed. I only hope Harrison will not sign with another team before next season... or retire.

The Steelers have NO depth anywhere, with the exception of WR. When will someone wake up the Rooney's and point out the obvious? Kevin Colbert has wrecked this roster.

Why does he still have his job?

Patrick said...

I'm going to guess it's the two Lombardis he brought to town. Maybe that's why he has a job. Who knows

Dale Lolley said...

They had planned all along to bring Keisel back before camp. He never cleaned out his locker.

They pretty much have the same thinking in place with Harrison.

I've got news for you, Colbert doesn't run the draft by himself. The coaches have input as much as the scouts.

I might add that they have plenty of depth at inside linebacker, nose tackle, tight end, running back, etc.

Unlike fans, I pay attention to all the teams in the league. Tell me one team that is teaming with depth at every position? It's just not possible in the salary cap era.

jmott4385 said...

Just fix that damn secondary and we could easily be legit. For the love of god, robinson would have been a huge step for us. Not a single db we have is worthy of seeing the field at this point.

jmott4385 said...

And i understand its not all their fault. Some of it is the lack of oass rush we get. Im not high on anyone but heyward on our dline. And mcclendon is not the answer. We need a big bad dude like casey again to clog up the middle. I dont expect us to get a sherman or revis, but we have always got roasted but teams that pass the ball alot. Its its a passing league now, and you have to play alot more man than before now and try to get pass rush with just 3 or 4 guys. Even our great defenses few years back still got toasted by high passing teams. We seem to not get the point that its not about stopping the run anymore, which we cant do that anymore. Id like to see a corner drafted in 1 or 2 this year. I mean, its been like 20 years since we did in first round.

ibygeorge said...

I just hope they get a veteran body to ease the no depth in the corner back field for this year. I hear Ike Taylor is available. With a good draft, next year could be awesome.

ibygeorge said...

I just hope they get a veteran body to ease the no depth in the corner back field for this year. I hear Ike Taylor is available. With a good draft, next year could be awesome.

Dale Lolley said...

There's nothing wrong with McLendon at NT. He's solid.

Tuitt will be better in his second season.

But they can't count on the pass rush to come from the line. It has to come from the outside backers.

skatzman26 said...

Convert Heyward -Bay from WR to CB ....he has the size and speed to be a good CB.....Steelers have a good WR core...Heyward - Bay could rejuvenate his career.

marc said...

they needed robinson. very disappointing.

Anonymous said...

At this point I would wait for a veteran cut after June 1st or at the end of preseason for depth at cb or olb or both. No one left is worth signing. Maybe acho. FYI 8-8, 8-8, 11-5 do not get an architect of 3 Super Bowl visits fired. Colbert isn't going anywhere soon.

Anonymous said...

No depth?! Wr, rb, ol, te, nt, ilb all have solid to good depth. Olb, and cb are really only huge issues in terms of depth.

Anonymous said...

Uh now tell me is he not the same guy that drafted the likes of pro bowlers such as Le'Veon Bell, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, and Antonio Brown none of which were 1st round picks and how about we give a chance for guys like Tuitt, Shazier, Jarvis Jones to develop I mean look at Worilds he turned out to be good after about 3 years and that one guy Cameron Heyward is pretty damn good and he was thought to be a bust as well so stop focusing on the Ziggy Hood or Limas Sweed type of picks and give the man credit for these guys he has hit on

Anonymous said...

Steelers shaping up to have the worst defense in the NFL

its a shame how incompetent the management staff is

Anonymous said...

The ability to draft and develop defensive talent took a huge dive after Cowher left.

As a defensive coach Tomlin needs to do much better in that regard.

Anonymous said...

Losing Robinson is indefensible. Another "we will use what we have" philosophy. Even IF they draft CB rd 1, it is still a rookie CB. Offense is going to have to scroe 30+ a game to have a chance. And that is just not realistic. The yrs and yrs and yrs and yrs of LeBeau's bend don't break garbage D that everyone has known is flawed has always meant the team did not value a high priced man to man CB. Now that nightmare will expose this D again this season. 8-8 here we come!! Woooo hooooo!!

Anonymous Brian said...

It's March.

Ed Charles said...

Look. If you can't even get 2 mediocre corners signed in FA, Who didn't even get much in Robinson and Moore, You suck as a GM Mr Colbert

Anonymous said...

Comments about Lebeau's "garbage d" are ridiculous.

What a spoiled ignorant fan.

marc said...

I just looked up robinson's deal with chargers. steelers must not have liked something about him because it was just a 1-yr $2 mill deal with a little over half guaranteed. surely the steelers could have afforded that.

Dale Lolley said...

Everybody assumes that A. the Steelers didn't offer Robinson a contract and B. He actually wanted to come here.

Believe it or not, some guys don't want to play in cold weather cities as their home base. Robinson played his college ball at Florida State. He spent his first four years in a warm-weather dome. He chose San Diego. Sometimes, it really does come down to something that simple.

The comment on LeBeau's "garbage" defense was a garbage post.

Joe Jones said...

Can't be worse of a job than Rutherford has done with the Penguins.

Joe Jones said...

Colbert has to be one of the best drafting GM's in the business.

Like you said, maybe I don't follow other teams as much, but I love what we've been able to find in the mid-rounds of the draft.

Joe Jones said...

I doubt that theory is correct.

Robinson is mediocre at best.

Anonymous said...

How is "losing" a guy who is basically backup quality "indefensible?" Does. Not. Compute.

The Steelers' current DB situation looks grim. You know what it'd look like with Robinson included? Still pretty grim. They're going to be drafting at least a couple DBs this year. That was going to happen with or without a veteran FA added to the mix.

I honestly probably prefer Bowman over any of the remaining FAs available OR Robinson. Only thing Robinson has on him is age. When called upon to start, Bowman has typically performed pretty well.

There will also likely be more vet Corners available as mini/TCs fire up, either due to cost cutting measures or "numbers game" issues.

The Steelers will find at least one veteran CB to add to the roster. And truth be told, anyone remaining out there right now isn't that much of a lesser commoditiy than what was available 4-5 days ago anyway. Both Wilsons, Bowman, Brown, Cason, Gordy, Biggers, et al...all pretty much in the same talent tier, which is maybe a quarter of a step below a guy like Robinson(if that, even). None are anything to write home about.

Noel said...

The sky is always falling in Pittsburgh. The only area of real concern to me is the outside rushers and even that isn't panicking me. Jones was looking fine until his injury and Moats with another year might not be the next Woodley but is capable enough until a replacement is groomed. I'd feel better with Harrison there as insurance but it seems unlikely any other teams will come calling for him. We're going into the draft with needs but not so glaring as the chicken littles are making it out to be. It's a good spot to be in. Yes, the corners could be better but we went 11-5 with these guys; they ain't that shabby and we stand to add some good new faces in the draft to complement them.

Nick Howley said...

Dale, appreciate the article and look at Free Agents. I can't say I'm a fan of free agency on a usual basis, but it is worth a look for the organization to maybe find the diamonds in the rough that they often do. It would have been nice to have gotten Robinson but I think that people are often caught up in the easy and over obvious idea that our corner play is the problem on the team. When you look at the help over top last year as well as run support from the third level, Safety play was diminished from what it used to be. This is directly about Troy and Mike Mitchell. Steelers had some pretty solid defenses with guys like Chad Scott and Dwayne Washington. My personal opinion on this is that this draft is deep enough that a good cornerback can be added in the second or third round of the draft. That would give us Willie Gay, Antwon Blake, and young up and comer. I can live with that if the pass rush and safety play is addressed. And I agree with you on your bit about the pass rush not coming from the defensive line. The Dline in Steeler defenses in that past 20 years have always had the emphasis on linebacker pressure while the line deals mostly with run stopping and taking up blockers on both pass and rush while moving the pocket back. That being said, I can definitely seeing under Butler a few wrinkles in the D schemes occassionally to allow the exploitation of the athleticism our two starting ends, Tuitt and Heyward, have displayed.

The only thing I disagree with you on is the play of Steve McClendan. I'm not going to call him garbage because he has his moments and would provide nice depth, but he is not a starting NFL Nose Tackle. He does eat up blockers, push the pocket, consistenly sustain pressure, or even get off his blockers. Often times he was down field because a single man was able to screen him off a play forcing him to take a pursuit angle leading him down field. If you look at the drop off in run contain, it can be seen almost directly correlating with the retirement/leaving of Hampton and Hoke. I think that McCullers is a guy who has a lot of potential but I'm also not against us grabbing a guy like Malcom Brown out of Texas.

Would love to hear your opinions on some draft ideas you might have too. I've got some ideas myself but I would enjoy hearing some ideas from a more seasoned analysts. I'm just an avid college football and Steeler fan who was getting excited in spring of his 8th grade year a week before draft hoping the Steelers would draft this Quarter Back he had seen play on tv at Miami of Ohio :)

kyle said...

It's Steve McLendon. Can we have a moratorium on slagging the guy until everyone can spell his name correctly?

Did you watch the playoff game against the Ravens in which the defense played quite poorly? Did you see the only player consistently beating his man was McLendon? Did you see him push the Center back on the snap far enough that two different times Flacco tripped over the guy?

McLendon is good. He's not enormously fat and unbelievably strong like Hampton was and he's not a lumbering giant like McCullers is but he's a good NT. The Packers were trying to bring him in for a visit and they had everyone's favorite zero BJ Raji. So, apparently Raji is great because people remember he went in the 1st (just like Patrick Robinson) and McLendon is below average because sometimes he doesn't blow up a running play. Watching Hampton be useless against zone blocking apparently didn't stick with everyone the way it did with me. I loved Casey Hampton but he wasn't perfect. Steve doesn't have to be perfect to be more than good enough.

Dale Lolley said...

Their poor run defense numbers in recent years have been largely due to teams running against the nickel. It's been a long-standing problem. McLendon isn't on the field in the nickel.

Is he the second coming of Casey Hampton? No. But he doesn't have to be in today's NFL.

Anonymous said...

Their poor run defense numbers in recent years have been largely due to teams running against the nickel. It's been a long-standing problem.

Not entirely true. Or even close actually. Their run D against nickel isn't good. That part is true. But LeBeau's answer to that was to play more base 34, and to avoid paying nickel in run situations, even against 3 WR looks.

LeBeau dialed Base 34 on 51.2% of their snaps last year, to 48.8% packages (mostly nickel, just 4 dime snaps). Despite teams passing on them 61% of the time. He tried to mask their run D deficiencies. But the truth is their Base 34 wasn't a hell of a lot better. Teams avg'd 4.21 ypc against their Base, and 4.44ypc against their nickel. Marginally better. But their nickel only faced the run 95 times last year. Out of 368 runs. Just a quarter of their runs. So, no, their Run D problems were not due to teams running against their nickel.

But I do agree, McLendon isn't the problem. He's not great, but he's fine. The problem was on the edges and second level support.

Anonymous said...

Are you serious that they won't Sign Troy to a deal. Can anyone answer thus who has been the anchor of the Dfence. And when they draft his replacement then he should retire.

Anonymous said...

It's funny the Steelers are so frugal they won't even throw $2.5 million at Robinson. They have no problem overpaying guys they draft year after year though. Ike Taylor was paid $2.5 million to do nothing last year. The year before it was Clark at almost $5 million. And Troy last year did he cause a single turnover?

Colbert has been a year late with numerous guys and the Steelers could of cleared cap space if he was proactive instead of reactive. You can't sign Free Agents with veterans eating up cap space. It really hurts when they aren't productive and you miss on your draft picks (CB, OLB)

Anonymous said...

I'm in total agreement with the above post. Most teams make the mistake of highly overvaluing Free Agents but the Steelers do the reverse and overvalue their aging veterans.

Would any team have given Ike the kind of money we did the past two years?

The answer is no.

Anonymous said...

Look at all these armchair GMs, like Colbert, Tomlin, and everyone else don't carefully evaluate their every decision. Like, maybe Patrick Robinson wasn't an improvement over what they have and didn't want him, just b/c a guy is a free agent doesn't mean you MUST SIGN HIM ASAP

Anonymous said...

And look at all these armchair buffers breaking out their shine box for every move the Steelers make and don't make.

It isn't automatic that every move or non-move turns out to be a good one just because Steelers. I'd think last year's offseason would be fresh enough reminder for that. See Cam Thomas. Or Lance Moore. Or LeGarrett Blount. Or Mitchell. Or their two starting CBs Ike and Cortez.

I can't wring a hand or a care over missing out on Robinson or Moore, but I find the obligatory shineboys who show up to scold any degree of criticism more tedious. But that's just me.

kyle said...

But nobody is complaining about legitimate poor decisions. They're complaining about not signing two marginal CBs just because they were available.

The Steelers are not immune to criticism and I think most fans realize that. The problem with the discourse is when idiots want to fire everyone whenever something happens that they don't like. If the criticism had been "man, it would have put my mind a bit more at ease if they had signed Sterling Moore" I don't think many people on here would start talking trash. But that's not what gets said.

Anonymous said...

Colbert didn't make Worilds retire. He didn't talk Lewis into taking a hometown discount and leaving. Hood leaving surprised everyone. They have depth a wr, Rb, and ilb. Millers back up is the best blocking TE in the NFL. They have a decent back up qb and Boyd has potential. They are thin in spots but he has built an offensive monster. Why does he have a job? Because no gm's team has been to more or won more superbowls inside the last 10 years. He still has a job because he isn't foolish enough to over spend on mediocre players like most of the NFL did in FA.

Dale Lolley said...

They don't have to sign Troy to a deal. He's already under contract. He's contemplating retirement or playing elsewhere next year if he does play.

I've had the conversation with other writers regarding the "fire everybody/this guy should be cut/sucks" crowd.

I never agree with every move the team makes. Thought Cam Thomas was a terrible signing at the time, though it made some sense since he played end and nose.

But there's no middle ground with some people. You're going to miss on draft picks. You're going to miss on some signings. It happens.

But that doesn't mean the GM, who has helped this team to three Super Bowls, should be fired. Or the coach, etc.