While the Bengals have had a historically well first week of free agency, the Steelers are having a hard time filling high priority needs with high talent. The Bengals have signed Preston Brown (former LB of the Bills), had a major trade for Cordy Glenn (former OT of the Bills), and re-signed needs at other positions. The Steelers have one notable sign. Just one. They signed Jon Bostic (journeyman LB) for 2 years.
Why cant the Steelers go for quality talent at highly needed positions? Le’veon Bell’s franchise tag has made a rippling effect through the whole teams budget. Without making a long-term deal at Bell’s price, the Steelers tagged him for the second time at 14 million. With that tag all the Steelers can do is sign an awful journeyman LB to fill a desperate need in their LB core. The biggest shocker is not even being able to talk to Safety Tyrann Mathieu. This was one of those high quality needs that could have had the Steelers go after something different in the first round of their draft.
Tyrann would have been a perfect fit for the Bengals rivals. They could have got him with no question if they didn’t have that diseased tag they have on Bell. He wanted to go to a team that has immediate Playoff contention. It isn’t all about the money. They could have dropped the tag and easily had the money for Tyrann Mathieu.
Looking at the draft, the Steelers would have had 2 to 3 notable RBs landing on their first round pick. Instead they will still have to go for a LB or now a safety. Sonny Michel from Georgia is a BUS like running back that could fall for them if they picked up high quality free agents instead of keeping Bell’s tag.
If the Steelers make any more free agent moves this off-season, they will only have the money for mediocrity. They will have to rely on rookies to fill their needs.