With the close of the NFL season now past, I don’t really know what to do with my life. There’s no football to watch, so now I’ll have to transition into full-time college basketball watching.
Of course, I’m a firm believer that there’s only an NFL offseason if you let there be an NFL offseason. That being said, I’m not allowing the lull from February to July bring me down. Besides, there’s always the NFL Draft, free agency, and trades that can be completed throughout the spring and summer.
We’ve got a few mock drafts out, so I’ll begin to examine the free agency class of 2016. I’ll inspect each teams free agents, and look at the players’ possible landing spots.
You can find the report on the AFC East here.
Pittsburgh Steelers, 10-6
After an injury filled season, Pittsburgh may be poised to take the NFL by storm next season. However, they have 23 players who’ll hit the market this spring. On the bright side, many of these players contributed minimally, even with the rash of injuries.
The Steelers have just one offensive starter with his contract up in offensive guard Ramon Foster. Foster has been a staple in anchoring Pittsburgh’s offensive line, and at age 30, Foster will probably receive one more substantial contract before it’s all said and done. Expect Foster back with the Steelers for a few more seasons.
Fellow offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum has seen his contract expire. Beachum’s 2015 season ended quickly due to a torn ACL. He was one of the best pass protectors while playing, and had an elite season in 2014. Beachum’s injury history may hurt his market value, but I think he’ll find his way to a high contract whether it be with Pittsburgh or elsewhere.
Pittsburgh may lose a rash of secondary members. Brandon Boykin, William Gay, and Will Allen may all depart via free agency.
Although Boykin wasn’t technically a starting cornerback for Pittsburgh, he was a very valuable asset as a nickleback and as a starter when one of their top two corners were hurt. Boykin did not play many snaps, nor did he break the box score, but he was still a solid cover corner. Boykin will get looks from NFL teams including Pittsburgh.
Although the secondary of Pittsburgh was suspect for most of 2015, William Gay was the only cornerback to not allow a touchdown in the season according to Pro Football Focus. Gay was the only reliable defensive back in Pittsburgh, and he’s expressed interest to resign with the Steelers. Pittsburgh must make Gay a priority this offseason, and I reckon they will.
An aging cornerback out of #THE Ohio State University, Will Allen’s time in the NFL is evaporating. Allen was slotted to be a backup for 2015, but was thrusted into a starting strong safety role. He underperformed, proving to be slow and poor in space. A deal probably will not get done for a while for Allen as other teams look to sign higher prioritized players.
Other Pittsburgh Free Agents: Steve McLendon, Cam Thomas, Bruce Gradkowski, Robert Golden, Antwon Blake, Will Johnson, Sean Spence, Clifton Geathers, Darrius Heyward-Bey, David Nelson, Doub Legursky, Terrance Gavin, Jordan Todman, Mike Vick, Byron Stingily, Rob Blanchflower, Mitchell Van Dyk