Former New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount, shown here diving into the end zone in January, might be a target for the Steelers in free-agency -- if they can make the salary cap space.
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
If the Steelers want to sign free-agent halfbacks LeGarrette Blount or Maurice Jones-Drew, they may have to create more salary-cap room to do so.
As of Wednesday, the Steelers’ salary-cap room had dipped to $1,051,934, about half of what it was a day earlier. Those are figures reported by the NFL Players Association after the official signings Tuesday of two other free agents, wide receiver Lance Moore and linebacker Arthur Moats.
Blount, who played in 2013 for the New England Patriots, is scheduled to visit with coach Mike Tomlin and others tonight and Friday in Pittsburgh. He ran for 772 yards, seven touchdowns and a 5-yard average per carry with the Patriots. He played his first three NFL seasons with Tampa Bay.
Blount took a pay cut last year with the Patriots after they acquired him in a trade. He was supposed to make $1.75 million in Tampa Bay but agreed to reduce that to $680,000 to play one year in New England, then become a free agent.
The Patriots and Baltimore Ravens also are reportedly interested in him, and he is expected to earn more than what he did last season.
Tomlin expressed optimism at the NFL meetings this week in Orlando, Fla., that the Steelers would sign a veteran running back. Jones-Drew visited the Steelers last week and remains a free agent. Whoever they sign will back up Le’Veon Bell.
The Steelers could clear as much as $3.8 million more in salary-cap room if they restructure the contract of linebacker Lawrence Timmons, whose 2014 salary is $6,750,000 and is signed through 2016.
According to the NFLPA, the Steelers have the least amount of salary-cap room of any NFL team and their lowest since the NFL calendar year began March 11. Next lowest is Detroit with almost $2 million. The Cleveland Browns have the most room with more than $31 million, the New York Jets have more than $28 million and the Cincinnati Bengals are third with more than $26 million.
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