Colbert: Steelers might not be done signing outside free agents
March 20, 2016 1:19 PM
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert at the Steelers' South Side training facility. Both are trying to attend as many of their pro days as possible, Colbert said on the first day of the NFL owners meetings at the Boca Beach Hotel and Resort.
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BOCA RATON, Fla. – General manager Kevin Colbert said today the Steelers might not be done signing outside free agents, but said their offseason plan so far has gone according to schedule, especially with re-signing guard Ramon Foster and cornerback William Gay and replacing retired tight end Heath Miller.
“They are two of our unquestioned leaders,” Colbert said.
Colbert also said left tackle Ryan Harris, who started all 19 games last season for the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, is viewed as a “capable starting left tackle” who will battle with incumbent Alejandro Villanueva to be the starter who protects Ben Roethlisberger’s blind side.
On the first day of the NFL owners meetings at the Boca Beach Hotel and Resort, Colbert also said he and Coach Mike Tomlin have “been tracking” many of the top cornerbacks in the draft and are trying to attend as many of their pro days as possible.
“We can’t say we’ll take a cornerback first, second or third,” Colbert said. “But there are enough that we should be able to get one.”
Colbert said the decision to re-sign Foster, 30, was important because of his veteran leadership and how he kept the offensive line together after the season-ending injuries to All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey and left tackle Kelvin Beachum.
“He’s a very valuable part of the intangible,” Colbert said. “He’s one of our respected leaders and we recognize that, plus he’s coming off one of his best years. He’s actually improving as he gets older. Ramon was a big part of keeping that unit together when we had all those injuries.”
The Steelers could still sign another free agent – possibly a nose tackle or backup defensive end – before the draft. But Colbert said there is no additional urgency to sign or draft a wide receiver because of the one-year suspension handed Martavis Bryant for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
“We feel good about Sammie Coates,” Colbert said. “And we have a kid, Eli Rogers, who, prior to getting hurt in training camp, showed some promise.”
Colbert was non-committal about the status of cornerback Cortez Allen, who was benched for poor performance each of the past two seasons and is scheduled to count $5.75 million about the salary cap in 2016. Allen also finished each of the past two seasons on injured reserve.
“We’re still trying to determine where he is from a health standpoint,” Colbert said. “Right now, he’s still part of the plan.”
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