The Steelers, trying to shore up two of the thinnest positions on their roster, signed a veteran cornerback Tuesday and will entertain wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey today at their facility.
Heyward-Bey, 27, was Oakland’s first-round draft choice in 2009, the seventh player drafted overall that year. They cut him last year, and he played in 2013 under a one-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts.
His visit comes a day after they signed cornerback Brice McCain to a one-year contract. McCain will receive a $730,000 salary and a $65,000 signing bonus, but count less on their cap ($635,000) because he will be among those designated as minimum salary benefit players.
The Steelers have slightly less than $400,000 in salary cap room after the McCain signing.
Heyward-Bey, who is 6 feet 2 and played at Maryland, never has fulfilled the expectations that went with the seventh overall pick five years ago. His best season came in 2011 in Oakland when he had 64 receptions for 975 yards, an average of 15.2 yards per catch.
He played in all 16 games for the Colts, starting 11. He caught 29 passes for 309 yards.
Heyward-Bey has 169 career receptions for 2,380 yards (a 14.1 average) and 12 touchdowns. He has started 63 games and played in 72.
In the third game of the 2012 season in Oakland, Steelers safety Ryan Mundy knocked out Heyward-Bey with a helmet-to-helmet hit that prompted the NFL to levy a $21,000 fine on Mundy.
Wide receiver and cornerback are considered among the top needs for the Steelers in the May 8-10 draft, and adding Heyward-Bey along with McCain would not change that.
The Steelers lost two of their top three wide receivers, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery, in free agency. They signed New Orleans free-agent receiver Lance Moore, who joins Pro Bowler Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Derek Moye, the holdovers from 2013.
McCain, a sixth-round draft pick from Utah in 2009, spent the past five years with the Houston Texans. He signed a three-year, $5.25 million contract with the Texans last year, but was cut this year after a poor 2013 season.
McCain, 27, is 5-9, 185 pounds. He started only 10 games in five seasons with the Texans, four in 2013. He has five career interceptions, one last season.
He joins a group of cornerbacks that includes Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen and William Gay.
Also, two college prospects visited the Steelers Tuesday: wide receiver Donte Moncrief of Mississippi and running back Lache Seastrunk of Baylor.
Ed Bouchette: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @EdBouchette. First Published April 1, 2014 9:18 PM