The Pittsburgh Steelers have quietly made significant moves during free agency. To date the team’s most notable signings are former Carolina Panthers’ safety Mike Mitchell and former Buffalo Bills’ linebacker Arthur Moats.
The Steelers signed Mitchell to five-year deal worth $25 million. Mitchell was brought in to fill the void left by safety Ryan Clark who was released. The team’s secondary is in need of a major boost and the Steelers have added some help by singing the former Panther.
Last season the Steelers’ secondary was horrendous and letting Clark go was a must. There were questions about whether the Steelers would bring back safety Troy Polamalu and they have. Polamalu had a good season last year and still has some game left (unlike Clark). However, Polamalu isn’t getting any younger and the Steelers’ defense needs to.
Adding Mitchell is a good move and he will hopefully help rebuild a secondary that’s lost a step over the seasons. Mitchell last season recorded 67 overall tackles, four sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles.
The Panthers’ defense was one of the best in the NFL last season and Mitchell contributed to that effort. The turnover statistics stand out as the Steelers need more players who can generate turnovers. Last season it took until week 5 before the Steelers’ defense forced a turnover. They need more playmakers and if Mitchell can continue his trend, they’ve found one.
A late round pick to add to the secondary wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Steelers either but Mitchell looks to be a solid answer for a safety position.
The Steelers were able to retain Jason Worilds after releasing LaMarr Woodley. Retaining Worilds was huge for the Steelers as he’s coming off a break out year. Now the Steelers have added Moat into the mix as well.
Earlier there were reports that former Steelers’ linebacker James Harrison could return but after bringing in Moats those hopes now appear to be dimmed.
Moats is a player capable of playing on the defensive side and special teams where Harrison would only be help on the defensive side of the ball. Moats should be able to add depth and provide solid play this season for the Steelers. This is a small signing that made a lot of sense.
Thus far, the Steelers’ free agency has been comfortable. The loss of Emmanuel Sanders remains to be the biggest hit the Steelers have taken while Markus Wheaton, right now, will serve as Sanders replacement. The team was able to sign former New Orleans Saints’ reciever Lance Moore who will fill the gap left by Jerricho Cotchery.