There is no Terrell Owens or Albert Haynesworth smiling in a black and gold hat next to Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin. All I can say about that is, thank goodness.
The Steelers traditionally do not make many moves in free agency because the Rooneys realized a long time ago that teams do not win the Super Bowl in March. I am OK with teams like the Redskins and Giants (and even the Bills) making waves now, and no one paying much attention to the Steelers.
When the Steelers do sign free agents, most of the time the move turns out great. At the end of the day, the Steelers win games.
Let’s go back in time when free agency first began and how it worked for the Steelers (not all players but just the major ones that season. If I missed any guys or if I am wrong, let me know. I am doing this from memory):
Kevin Greene in 1993 from the LA Rams: He worked out well; made it to the Super Bowl with his outside pass rush. One of the first major free agents in league history.
John L. Williams in 1994 from Seattle: He played in a Super Bowl but was at the end of his career when he arrived in Pittsburgh
Erric Pegram in 1995 from Atlanta: He played in a Super Bowl and wasn't too bad in his two seasons with the Steelers.
Norm Johnson in 1995 from Atlanta: He was a good kicker for the Steelers.
Will Wolford in 1996 from Indy: He was OK but nowhere near the guy who played in Buffalo and Indy
Donnell Woolford in 1997 from Chicago: He sucked as a Steeler. What was Donahoe thinking?
Dewayne Washington in 1998 from Minnesota: He had his ups and downs.
Wayne Gandy in 1999 from the Rams: He was solid in my opinion.
Kimo von Oelhoffen in 2000 from Cincinnati: He worked out well. Very underrated and won a Super Bowl ring.
Jeff Hartings in 2001 from the Lions: He was very good, especially since he successfully switched from guard to center. He was a rock and I still miss him (Sean Mahan and even Hartwig at times will make one do that)
James Farrior in 2002 from the Jets: He worked out well. Won two Super Bowls and made two Pro Bowl appearances.
Chris Gardocki in 2004 from Cleveland: He was OK but not anyone you would write home about.
Duce Staley in 2004 from Philly: He started out so well and then just disappeared.
Tyrone Carter in 2004 from Minnesota: He is a reliable backup with two Super Bowl rings.
Ryan Clark in 2006 from Washington: Despite all the injuries he faced, he has turned into an underrated cover man and a fierce hitter.
Sean Mahan in 2007 from Tampa Bay: He was by far one of the worst linemen I have ever seen. Colbert deserves an award for swindling the Bucs into giving up a seventh round pick in this year’s draft for this guy.
Nick Eason in 2007 from the Browns: Solid backup.
Mewelde Moore in 2008 from the Vikings: I think by far the most underrated FA pickup of the season. Without this guy taking over for Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall after their injuries, the Steelers would not have made the deep playoff run that they did.
His catch in OT against the Ravens on Monday Night Football was one of the best moments of the season.
I will not mention Byron Leftwich and Mitch Berger since they were pretty much signed on just for this past season only.
The moral of the story is this that the Steelers do not made a move to get a guy like Albert Haynesworth or DeAngelo Hall because they do not match the overall Steelers team concept and philosophy.
Haynesworth is a talented player, but I would rather have a backup guy who will not take up much of the salary cap but still make contributions to the team when needed. One player does not win the Super Bowl.
The Steelers do make FA moves, but if I remember correctly, none of them, save for the Kevin Greene signing, got much press. I remember James Farrior being a solid player with the Jets, but in some circles before 2002, he was viewed as a draft bust given he was a top 10 pick who had never made a Pro Bowl.
Who will the Steelers bring in to the championship fold this season? Who knows, but trust in Kevin Colbert and Art Rooney II, the most underrated front office duo in the NFL today. Can’t wait to read your comments. Until the draft, Black and Gold forever.
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