Steelers sign RB, returner Moore
Share with others:
Who says the Steelers can't be players in free agency? They rank No. 31 in the league in salary cap room, but they went out and squeezed another player onto their bloated roster yesterday.
His name is Mewelde (mu-WELL-dee) Moore, a running back from the Minnesota Vikings. He signed a three-year contract with the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent that will pay him $4.95 million and include a $1.35 million signing bonus.
Moore (5 feet 11, 209 pounds) will compete to become the team's third-down back and also to return punts and kickoffs.
"He has things that are potentially attractive to us," said coach Mike Tomlin, who witnessed Moore first hand when he was the Vikings' defensive coordinator in 2006.
Take a good look, because Moore is not only their first free agent to sign, he could be their last. His $650,000 first-year salary gives him a $1.1 million salary cap number this year. That and Ben Roethlisberger's new contract further cut into the team's $2.5 million cap room it had as of Friday.
The Steelers today, for example, will entertain unrestricted free agent Eugene Wilson, a free safety from the New England Patriots, but there's little chance, or money, to sign him.
"We'll see what happens," Tomlin said when asked if there will be more signings. "Don't hold your breath, though."
It's possible the Steelers had to rework some players' contracts already in order to get under the cap by Friday because they were over it until then.
"At this point, we are OK," said Kevin Colbert, the team's director of football operations. "If we continue to move forward, if we sign more players, depending on the dollars, we might have to make some other adjustments. At this point, we don't have to make any moves to accommodate what we did today."
The Steelers hold nearly $7 million of salary cap room on the transition tag they gave tackle Max Starks. That would change based on whether they work out a long-term deal for Starks or he signs elsewhere.
"He probably wants to test and see what else is out there for him," Colbert explained as to why something has not been done with Starks yet.
The Steelers were not happy with their third-down play at running back or their returns last season. They released return man Allen Rossum, who came in a trade from Atlanta last year for their seventh-round draft choice this year.
Moore, 25, spent all four of his pro seasons with the Vikings, who drafted him in the fourth round from Tulane in 2004. He has 1,285 yards rushing and a 4.9-yard average, and has caught 116 passes for 1,093 yards. He has averaged 10.4 yards on punts and 19.3 yards on kickoffs for his career.
First Published March 4, 2008 12:00 am