Dec 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell (21) celebrates breaking up a pass by the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter of the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Will Mike Mitchell Be the Pittsburgh Steelers Only Signing?

The news yesterday that Mike Mitchell had been signed by the Steelers to a 5-year/$25 million deal shocked everyone in Steelers nation.  Here is my take on the situation and what it means for the Steelers’ plans for the rest of free agency.

Before I go into detail let me start by saying my two gut reactions:  Signing Mitchell was a GREAT move by the front office, and he will be an excellent complement to Troy.  They absolutely overpaid for him.  The 5-year/$25 million deal that Mitchell was signed to is only half a million less than Pro Bowl safety TJ Ward will make this year.  I was expecting a $4 million deal tops for Mitchell.  That being said, when the Steelers front office pays up for a free agent they usually have a good reason.

Mitchell spent the first four seasons of his career with the Raiders after being their second round pick in 2009.  After his rookie contract with Oakland expired, he signed a one year deal with the Panthers.  He played as a backup his first four years in the league before coming to Carolina.  He began last year in Carolina as a backup before stepping in for Charles Godfrey when Godfrey became injured early in the season.  Mitchell had some nice production in his first 14 games as a starter racking up 67 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and 9 passes defensed.  With that production in his first 14 games as a starter, Mitchell has the potential to be a top of the line safety.  That is also probably what Kevin Colbert and the rest of the Steelers brass were thinking when they signed him to such a lucrative deal.  I am excited to see what Mitchell can bring to this Steelers defense throughout the next five seasons.

Aug 16, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive end Alex Carrington (92) before a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

What does this mean for the Steelers plans for the rest of free agency?  In all likelihood Mitchell will be the Steelers only big splash in the free agent market this offseason.  Resigning their own free agents should be the front office’s #1 priority from here on out, but don’t rule out the team being in the running for some smaller name free agents.  Don’t expect to hear anything in the mainstream media however, they will be to busy analyzing LeBron James’ every move.  Some players whose names could be in the cards are Corey Graham, Alex Carrington, and Brandon LaFell.  Graham, who was a cornerback for the Ravens last season, played mostly in a nickel role and on special teams.  He does have the ability to make the step outside and become a starting cornerback, however.  After Ike Taylor is gone next season, the Steelers could offer him that.  Alex Carrington has not received much buzz on in the media because of his 2013 season being limited to three games due to injury, but he is a perfect fit as a 5-tech and could provide an immediate starter to replace Brett Keisel.  LaFell has been lost in the buzz of the receivers that are available via free agency or the draft this season, but he could be a solid addition to the Steelers wide receiving corps.  He could give the team that tall receiving threat that so many people want them to add.

What do you think Steelers Nation?  Was Mitchell a good signing? Are there any more moves in the cards for the Steelers?  Leave your comments below.

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  • SteelByDesign

    I agree with you. I like the signing, I think they overpaid but it’s not an outrageous contract. I also like that we have the Carnell Lake factor. A safety w/ a good skill set + Lake’s tutelage.

    Word is the Steelers are already reaching to Cotchery. I think he returns.

    I think Ziggy and Al Woods could hang around free agency for a while and then return when they see they’re not going to break the bank anywhere.

    I could still see some lower level guys from outside the org. coming in. Someone like Nolan Carol or Chris Cook. Possibly a defensive lineman if Ziggy signs elsewhere like Pat Sims or Adam Carriker.

  • [email protected]

    Overall, like the Mitchell deal although I can’t help but think we could have had Verner at CB for just another ~$1.6 mill per year. Given that we have him, agree that our top priority should be to keep some of our own namely Al Woods. Let Ziggy walk, what a disappointment. Da Beard I think won’t be back. Take a NT in the 3rd or 4th round of the draft, move McClendon to DE and along with Heyward we have our starting DL. Draft Gilbert or Dennard in rd 1, WR in rd 2, DL in rd 3, perhaps another CB in rd 4 and we could be set. Keeping Worilds was huge and I like that we brought Troy back for 1 more year. Overall, I think Steelers have had a good FA thus far.

    • Eric Robinson

      You are right on the money. I see we resigned Cody Wallace. I also think we should draft a RB, maybe with one of our compensation picks. If Gilbert and Dennard are gone at 15. I also wouldnt mind trading down a few slots to pick up another pick. Steelers are making all the correct moves i would be making if I was GM. I also think Dwyer should be resigned if we keep it cheap. Hopefully Velasco realizes hes better with Steelers as backup.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    Resigning their own free agents should be their number 1 priority???? Why not? Well like Kevin said, 8-8 two years running and not looking good doing it, would be a mistake to not make changes, so by all means, bring back the guys that got you to where they are and shoot for 6-10,, 5-11,, 4-12, compared to what he is replacing, Mitchell is an improvement, we need a lot more improvement, some how, some way,
    we have seen the colts, the seahawks, carolina, etc turn it around in the same time frame the Steelers have been running in place. Maybe they should give more money to the Ike Taylor’s of the world, our opponents would love that.