Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Joey Galloway is the first free agent the Steelers have entertained since free agency began Feb. 27, and he won't be the last.
Galloway, 37, visited the Steelers offices yesterday as the team began its search to find replacements for departed free agents, and more are expected to follow tomorrow.
After losing No. 3 receiver Nate Washington to the Tennessee Titans in free agency, the Steelers are looking at Galloway as insurance because they don't have any experienced wide receivers behind starters Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes.
A former No. 1 draft choice of the Seattle Seahawks in 1995, Galloway played five seasons in Tampa Bay, two of which while Mike Tomlin was the Buccaneers' secondary coach. Galloway has had six 1,000-yard receiving seasons in his 14-year NFL career, including three in a row from 2005-07 with the Buccaneers.
However, he was limited to 13 catches, 138 yards and no touchdowns in nine games last season because of a foot injury.
That, and his age -- Galloway will be 38 in November -- will likely limit his ability to get something other than a one-year contract for the veteran minimum. Galloway visited two other teams last week -- the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills -- after being released by the Buccaneers as part of a salary-cap purge.
The Steelers are hoping to persuade him he can be part of an opportunity to make another run at a Super Bowl championship. But they are convinced Galloway, who has been clocked at 4.3 in the 40-yard dash, still has the speed to be a viable part of their offense.
The Steelers have no such shortage at cornerback, even with the free-agent departure of Bryant McFadden, who signed a two-year, $10 million contract Sunday with the Arizona Cardinals. McFadden is guaranteed $5 million as part of the deal.
William Gay, a fifth-round choice in 2006 who spent the latter part of the season rotating every two series with McFadden, is expected to move up as the starting left cornerback. The Steelers also have former starter and nickel back Deshea Townsend, who enters his 12th NFL season.
McFadden visited the Cardinals eight days ago, but he had to wait nearly a week before signing because of the uncertain situation with quarterback Kurt Warner, who was also an unrestricted free agent.
"He was one of our top guys on the board," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said of McFadden. "We didn't know if we had a chance at him, the way those corners were going [in free agency]. We anticipated getting Kurt done early, that's why we brought Bryant in that weekend. When Kurt went longer, that scared us that we wouldn't have a chance at McFadden."