Keenan Lewis won't be breaking up passes for the Steelers in 2013.
The only reason to get excited about backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski is his Pittsburgh-area connection. He grew up in Dormont, Pa., and played at Seton-LaSalle High School.
It's nice to have William Gay and Matt Spaeth back. On the other hand, there was a time when the Steelers didn't feel they were worth keeping around.
The Steelers had to re-sign Plaxico Burress because of their lack of depth at wide receiver, but he'll be 36 next season.
Losing James Harrison hurts the Steelers' defense, but the Steelers made the right decision to not overpay for him.
Unrestricted free-agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw was scheduled to visit the Steelers Thursday, per reports by CBS and the NFL (h/t Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
The Steelers still would need to draft a running back if they sign Bradshaw, but if they do sign him, it would be their best move so far in free agency. He'd be the best running back on the roster and would just need someone to share the carries because of his troublesome right foot.
The Steelers are smart to at least take a look at Bradshaw. They've made other smart moves this year in free agency. They've also made some not-so-smart moves.
The Steelers seemed ready to go out with the old and in with the new on the offensive line.
In January, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers' 2013 starting offensive line figured to be Marcus Gilbert at left tackle, Kelvin Beachum at left guard, Maurkice Pouncey at center, David DeCastro at right guard and Mike Adams at right tackle.
Beachum, DeCastro and Adams all are heading into their second season after starting a combined 14 games as rookies. Even if that quintet is the offensive line of the future, the Steelers needed to retain some experience to ease the transition.
The Steelers decided to bring back one of their starting guards from 2012 and went with the more durable one by re-signing Ramon Foster. They released Willie Colon, who hasn't been able to stay healthy. He missed the final five games last season after playing in just one game in 2010 and 2011 combined.
Unless Beachum surprises in training camp, Foster is likely to start at left guard next season. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranks him the No. 31 guard in the NFL based on his 2012 performance, grading him higher as a pass blocker than a run blocker.
According to Pro Football Focus via ESPN, Foster was responsible for just two sacks in 2012. Gilbert hasn't played left tackle in the NFL, so it's hard to feel completely at ease with him protecting Roethlisberger's blind side. It'll help having Foster next to him.
Either the Steelers never intended to keep Keenan Lewis, or they thought he became expendable when they re-signed William Gay.
Either way, they made a mistake by not re-signing him.
Lewis became an unrestricted free agent after leading the NFL in 2012 with 28 passes defended, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Even the cap-strapped Steelers could have swung that. They currently have nearly $3 million in cap space, according to Spotrac.
But the Steelers never made Lewis an offer. Instead, they used some of the money they would have spent on Lewis to bring back Gay, who played a year in Arizona before the Cardinals released him. Gay came back to Pittsburgh and signed a three-year, $4.5 million contract.
Gay will be the nickelback, while Cortez Allen takes over for Lewis as the starting cornerback opposite Ike Taylor.
Allen is probably ready to start. He intercepted two passes last season, both in the same game. That's one more interception than Lewis has in his entire career.
Even if Allen seamlessly replaces Lewis, the Steelers eventually will need to replace Ike Taylor, who turns 33 in May and is coming off the first major injury of his career.
Gay, 28, is more suited to the nickel role. The league's better quarterbacks can exploit him when he plays on an island.
Furthermore, the Steelers are assuming Gay will be the same cornerback he was two years ago. Bryant McFadden went from the Steelers to the Cardinals then back to the Steelers, and he wasn't the same cornerback after spending a year in the desert.
By re-signing Lewis, the Steelers theoretically could have set themselves at cornerback for at least the next five years. Allen eventually could have inherited Taylor's starting job.
Now, unless Curtis Brown suddenly learns how to play the position, the Steelers likely will need to draft a cornerback in the early rounds in a couple of years when the sun sets on Taylor's career.
Letting Lewis go was a short-sighted move.
The Steelers had no choice but to keep Larry Foote.
The inside linebacker will be 33 next season, but he had a career-high 113 combined tackles in 2012, which led the Steelers. He also tied Lawrence Timmons for the team lead with 75 total tackles and matched his career high with four sacks.
The Steelers need to get younger at the position, but there's currently no one who can replace Foote. They didn't think enough of Stevenson Sylvester to place a tender on him, which allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent. Sean Spence, their 2012 third-round draft pick, isn't likely to play in 2013 after suffering a severe knee injury last year in the preseason.
If Foote can come close to his 2012 production, he'll be well worth the $1.5 million he's scheduled to earn next season.
That will leave the Steelers thin at safety.
Mundy replaced Polamalu when he was injured last season, but lost the starting strong safety job to Allen. The Steelers went 4-3 with Allen starting in place of Polamalu.
Allen will be 31 next season. The Steelers could have re-signed him as an inexpensive Polamalu insurance policy. Now they're left with Robert Golden and Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith as the backups to Polamalu, who turns 32 next month, and Ryan Clark, who turns 34 in October.
If the Steelers hadn't placed the $1.323 million tender on Emmanuel Sanders, he'd be a New England Patriot right now.
The restricted free-agent wide receiver still might end up calling Gillette Stadium home, but it will cost the Patriots a third-round draft pick.
Sanders visited the Patriots March 15, but did not receive an offer sheet. The Patriots have until April 19 to make him an offer, which the Steelers would have the right to match.
Field Yates of ESPN Boston says the Patriots could be waiting for the Steelers to use up salary cap space. Then it would be more difficult for the Steelers to match an offer.
Sanders had a career-high 44 catches in 2012 and led the Steelers with 14.2 yards per reception. He also played in 16 games for the first time in his three-year career after being hounded by injuries in his first two seasons.
If Sanders remains healthy, he could take over for Mike Wallace as the Steelers' main deep threat. If the Patriots snatch him away, then the Steelers get an additional third-round draft pick, and they could use all the draft picks they can get.
It's a win-win situation for the Steelers.
Victor Butler won't exactly remind anyone of James Harrison in his prime.
However, the Steelers shouldn't have let him leave Pittsburgh without a contract when he visited March 15.
The Steelers released Harrison and appear ready to sink or swim with Jason Worilds as his replacement at outside linebacker.
Butler, who will be 26 next season, at least could provide the Steelers with some competition for Worilds.
Playing behind DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, Butler has started just two games in his four-year career with the Dallas Cowboys, but he has 11 sacks. That's one more career sack than Worilds, and Worilds has had eight more starts.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com says Butler "showed flashes of serious pass-rush potential on the Cowboys."
Even if Butler didn't start with the Steelers, he could help on special teams.
Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk says Butler might still be unsigned because he's asking for too much money. If that's the case, the Steelers were wise not to overpay for him, but they still need to keep his agent's number on speed dial.
When healthy, Rashard Mendenhall was an important part of the Steelers offense.
However, ridding themselves of his attitude is one of the many moves the Steelers needed to make to put their bitter 2012 season behind them.
Mendenhall gained more than 1,000 yards in 2009 and 2010. He scored 29 touchdowns in 2010 to help the Steelers get to the Super Bowl. He was on his way to a third straight 1,000-yard season in 2011 before tearing his ACL in Week 17 at Cleveland.
Mendenhall was hampered by injuries for most of 2012. That alone would force the Steelers to think long and hard about keeping him as an unrestricted free agent.
However, Mendenhall really wrote his ticket out of town when he failed to show up for a game in which he wasn't activated. This came two weeks after he fumbled twice in four carries in a stunning 20-14 loss at Cleveland.
Even with their dire situation at running back, keeping Mendenhall would have sent the message that his me-first attitude was tolerable. The Steelers need to stress teamwork if they're going to bounce back from an 8-8 season.
Although Mendenhall found work with the Arizona Cardinals, coached by former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, his contract is only for a year. So even though he'll be just 26 next season, it's not like he got a mega-contract.
He still needs to redeem himself.