The Steelers' Robert Golden looks to make a tackle on the Bengals' Tyler Eifert during a Nov. 1 game at Heinz Field.
POLL: What will the Steelers do in free agency? A. Sign a starting safety (25%) B. Sign a starting tight end (25%) C. Sign a starting cornerback (13%) D. Just sign their own free agents (38%)
Guest: Any word on any FA visits?
Ray Fittipaldo: Not yet. Lots of times the top free agents don't visit before the sign. The top free agents will be off the board by Wednesday afternoon. Some of the second- and third-tier free agents who sign after the first-day frenzy will visit before signing but not always.
Guest: Ray, hearing any chatter about whether the steelers are close to resigning any other free agents, like Gay, Beachum etc?
Ray Fittipaldo: No but some of the backups are getting done today. Robert Golden signed a three-year deal today. Right before the chat started I saw a tweet that Heyward-Bey re-signed. Golden's deal is reportedly for $5 million over 5 years, or about $1.6 million a year, about a $500,000 raise over what he earned last year. he's the special teams captain and a quality reserve. Could be a stop-gap starter but ideally he remains in the role he's had for the past four years. As for DHB, he's also a quality special teams player, but I don't think his roster spot is guaranteed in any way. He'll have to earn his way on again. If you're Gay, Beachum, Foster, etc, you;re this close to finding out what other teams think of you. Why re-sign with the Steelers now? Unless your agent informs you the offers aren't going to be there.
Guest: I read where Steelers were interested Ngata....any truth to this rumor?
Ray Fittipaldo: I haven't seen that. He's strictly a one- or two-down player and now and he's no longer in his prime. Would be surprised if that's the case. The Steelers do have some uncertainty at nose tackle though as Steve Mclendon is about to hit free agency.
Col_man2: with no 5 & 6th round picks, do you think Steelers will look to trade back or since those are the rounds we usually draft our CB's, could this be the year we actually draft a CB in the 1st?
Ray Fittipaldo: Trading back could be an option, but remember the Steelers could get a compensatory pick (probably the seventh round). So there's an extra one.
Tship: Wondering if you got a chance to see some of the DBs at the combine and if so what you think of Jackson from Houston? To me he will likely be there and a very solid pick.
Ray Fittipaldo: Jackson had a very impressive combine. Ran 4.37 and performed well in the other position drills. You see many of the draft analysts now putting him in the first round conversation based on his combine performance. Many of them said they have to go in and watch the tape to see why he wasn't more impressive at Houston. You didn't see a lot of first round grades on him before the combine so it will be interesting to see if a team does buy into the combine and what he did there.
Guest: Any news on any restructurings like Timmons? I still think they need to pay a starting corner or safety in free agency and to get a good one, which they need to go after, they will need to pay 8-10 mil a year
Ray Fittipaldo: If the Steelers have designs on adding an outside free agent the Timmons restructure should happen in the next 48 hours before free agency begins Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Carlos G: Should we expect a few restructures before the end of this week? As always, thanks for your time.
Ray Fittipaldo: I would think so.
Tship: At this time Weds. will we all be talking about who they signed or still waiting a few more days for any type of signing news?
Ray Fittipaldo: Might be talking about who they signed but might not necessarily be an outside free agent. They have some of their own they'd like to keep.
Col_man2: First round scenario...top DT on the board in vernon Butler, top CB available is WIlliam Jackson III, top OLB is Darron Lee, top S available is Darian Thomspon or take O line...who you going w/ if you're the GM?
Ray Fittipaldo: I'd go with CB Jackson. This is a deep and talented defensive line class, but the NFL isn't changing anytime soon. Those guys would struggle to play 40 percent of the snaps with the Steelers. So I don't see first-round value in even the most talented DL in the draft. You didn't mention tight end. I'd actually have that as more of a consideration than OL in the first round if Hunter Henry is a first-round grade on their draft board.
Guest: I read Weddle said Pittsburgh was on his list of teams he'd be interested in playing for. I know Oak will throw more money at him, but any chance the steelers can convince him he's the missing link to their super bowl run next year?
Ray Fittipaldo: I assume you read the same thing I did in Monday Morning Quarterback. He mentioned Oakland, New England, Carolina and the Steelers. Unless he wants to play for less with the Steelers I don't see how it happens. When you have options it makes it harder because the Steelers don't have a ton of cap space to make moves.
John: With Golden back on board, how would you rank the likelihood of a FA signing at CB, S, DL or TE? Seems like TE and DL are more realistic options with the inflated value in the defensive secondary.
Ray Fittipaldo: Golden is a valuable player, but I don't know that it changes any of their plans in the draft or free agency. So CB and safety would still be very high on my list along with tight end.
Guest: On Weddle again, I don't think NE has a place for him in the starting lineup, and not sure about Carolima's interest but they are not exactly flush with cap room either. If it comes down to Oak throwing money at him and the steelers, do you think we have a shot?
Ray Fittipaldo: Sure, if playing for a contender means a lot to him. Remember, Oakland is on the rise and the Raiders might try to convince him he's their missing piece just like the Steelers might try to convince him. But as you said, the Raiders have so much more cap space to work with it.
GSK: Hi Ray, give us your best guess do the Steelers sign a starting CB or S in free agency?
Ray Fittipaldo: My guess is a safety but there are no assurances at all they'll sign any outside free agents. I think the very best of the free agent CB class will be way out of their price range. Same could be the case with safeties, but I think they'll be cheaper than CBs.
Guest: Any interest in the steelers part in free agent TE Dwayne Allen and any realistic chance they can and will go after him?
Ray Fittipaldo: He's one of the top free agent TEs so I don't know if they could afford him. Would be a good fit though. Still relatively young.
Guest: Why don't see the steelers possibly picking an OT in the first round of the draft? With Beachum likely gone and AV still a project, there are some excellent left tackles like Spriggs who would be available for the steelers at 25
Ray Fittipaldo: Might be a possibility. It's just that they've used so many first- and second-round picks on OL over the past few years. But listen, if they have a tackle high on their board and they don't like any of the CBs or safeties then it could happen.
Guest: Do you think they might be likely to part ways with JJ after his contract ends and therefore end up taking another edge rushing LB in the first round for the third year
Ray Fittipaldo: Jarvis Jones was a first-round pick so they'll have a fifth-year option on him. Might be in the $ 8 million a year range so they'll have to decide if they want to pay him that much. Based on what he's done so far that seems unlikely. So I do suppose OLB could be a priority next month, but maybe not a first-round priority.
Ray Fittipaldo: Thanks for taking part in the chat this week. We'll do it again next week at 1:30 p.m.
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