Dec 9, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant (79) reacts during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the Cardinals 58-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Under the Radar Free Agents Who Could Impact Pittsburgh Steelers


 

Like in past years, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be very limited in free agency.  That could be for multiple reasons.  The team will once again be cap strapped to begin free agency, but they will also likely play it conservative as always.  Here are a few under the radar options who could make a big impact for the Steelers.

 

Red Bryant-DE-Seattle Seahawks

Red Bryant was released by the Seahawks a few weeks go, only 2 years into his 5-year $35,000,00 contract.  The main reason behind his release was due to the fact that Bryant was a 323 pound behemoth playing a defensive ends role.  Men his size usually don’t play a defensive end role in a 4-3 scheme.  However, Bryant would be a perfect 5-tech defensive end in Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 scheme.  I am of the camp that believes the Steelers should bring in a nose tackle this offseason and move Steve McLendon to defensive end.  If Bryant signs, however, his 323 pounds could provide the big body on the defensive line that is needed.  McLendon could then stay at the position he already knows.

Bryant would undoubtedly have to take a reasonable deal for the Steelers brass to sign him.  Bryant will be 30 years old by the time the season starts, but he only has 6 years of experience so he is a relatively ‘fresh’ 30.  A deal in the neighborhood of 3 years and $14 million would be a reasonable agreement for both parties.  Bryant would likely be looking for a team that uses a 3-4 scheme where he could be a close full time player.  The Steelers would be a perfect fit.

 

Major Wright-S-Chicago Bears

Major Wright is, in my humble opinion, the most underrated free agent on the market this year.  He was hampered by hamstring an neck injuries last year and was still able to produce.  Despite the injuries Wright tallied 100 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions in 2013.  He even bested his career mark in tackles by 29.  While the Steelers just signed Troy Polamalu a 3-year extension, Ryan Clark will not likely return to the Black and Gold next year.  Second year player Shamarko may not be able to take on a full time role, especially at free safety.  Wright is only 26 and has tons of potential.  After Polamalu’s 3 year deal is up, Wright and Thomas could form a very nice safety tandem.

Wright could likely be had for a reasonable deal, as he battles injuries from last season.  A 4-year $17 million contract would be a good deal for both parties.  Wright plays very aggressive and fits the Ryan Clark mold of a free and strong safety hybrid.  It would be nice for the Steelers and Dick LeBeau to enter 2014 with 2 safeties that have the same skill set as the mainstays from most of the past decade.

 

Walter Thurmond-CB-Seahawks

There is a reason that there are 2 Seattle Seahawks on this list.  John Schneider and the entire front office in Seattle does an outstanding job of evaluating talent and then developing talent.  That is why Thurmond, who would be a starter for most teams in the league, was the third or fourth option for the Seahawks last season.  This is the reason that he could be an ideal target for the Steelers this offseason.  Thurmond only amassed 32 tackles in his limited role this past season, but he could play a much bigger role in the Steel City next year.  He could form a very formidable combination with Cortez Allen for the foreseeable future.

Sadly I believe that Thurmond is the least likely of these three to actually be wearing the black and gold next season.  As much as I would like to see Ike Taylor out of town next season, I find it unlikely that it will happen.  I fear that the team will keep Taylor on with a reduced salary for the 2014 season, the last year of his deal.  If Taylor is gone, I think a 4-year $15 million deal and a role as a starter would be enough to get Thurmond into the Steel City.

Any of these three names could be very nice additions for the Steelers defense in 2014.  What do you think Steelers Nation?  Which one of these players would be the best addition?  Who else would make nice additions to the Steel Curtain?  Please leave you opinions in the comment section.

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Tags: Major Wright Pittsburgh Steelers Red Bryant Walter Thurmond

  • Joshua Giovannone

    Honestly I hope we get Wright. That should be our number one free agent target.

    • Joshua Giovannone

      Maybe a WR

      • Christopher Lewis

        Defense wins championships.

        • Joshua Giovannone

          Well duh but we lack WR depth.

          • Anthony Chiado

            WR really isn’t that big of a need at all as long as Cotchery is back next season. AB is one of the top five receivers in the league, and Cotchery Wheaton combo is good for second and third receivers. They just need someone who can man the fourth spot, which could be easily accomplished on the third day of the draft as it is a deep WR class.

  • Christopher Lewis

    Red Bryant would certainly help boost our run stoppage but in a passing league we will definitely need some secondary help. I’m officially torn cause we could certainly use them all.

    • Anthony Chiado

      That’s the problem with their cap situation, especially this year. They have so many holes and only so much cash. I think they will be more likely to address the secondary in the draft because it is a deep class at corner. I don’t think safety is as much of a priority in the draft because a rookie likely won’t start and Polamalu is locked up for a few years. We can wait another year or two to draft a safety early unless we sign one.

  • [email protected]

    AC, nice to see that someone else thinks it’s a good idea to move McClendon to DE – he is a natural there given his pass rushing capability and sturdiness against the run (although not sturdy enough to be a NT in my opinion). Not a knock on McClendon, just that was out of position at NT. Of these three, I would like to see us score Bryant, least like us to take Wright – the Bears were terrible last year and I have read that safety play was a large part of that. But realistically, do you really see us signing ANY of these 3 guys? They seem a bit pricey for our historically stingy ways…..

    • Anthony Chiado

      I don’t see any of these guys being out of our price range at only $5 million per year max. Also, one of the reasons the Bears were bad at safety last year was because Wright was hurt most of the year. You’re absolutely right about McLendon, he could be a stud at DE.

  • bk

    DL… take a shot at Linval Joseph or Paul Soliai first…if we could get either of them, then we could go after speed in draft on both sides of the ball… WR, TE, CB, Safety, LB…

    • Anthony Chiado

      I would love to see us get Soliai or Joseph, but I think they could be out of our price range

  • Han Solo

    Agree with the entire article. Unfortunately I think Colbert is inept as a GM.