Friday came to an end, and it turned out to be a day of defections from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Three players signed contracts with new teams on Friday, Keenan Lewis, Ryan Mundy, and Willie Colon. Lets take a look at each of these signings, and discuss what it means for the Steelers.
Starting cornerback Keenan Lewis was the one free agent that I was most hoping would decide to stay with the Steelers, but that didn’t happen. Lewis signed with his hometown team, the New Orleans Saints.
The disappointing part of Lewis’ departure is that the Steelers could have kept him if they wanted to. But they didn’t even make him an offer. He didn’t get an offer last year when he was a restricted free agent, and he didn’t get an offer this year as an unrestricted free agent. The Saints ended up stealing him for a price that will only count for $2.2 million against their 2013 salary cap. That’s very cheap for a starting NFL cornerback.
In my opinion, Lewis is more of a philosophical loss than any of the other players. The Steelers drafted Lewis, and he struggled for his first three years with the team. But it all finally came together for him last year, and he emerged as a starter. But now that he’s become a viable player for the Steelers, they let him leave for another team. NFL teams can’t afford to invest time and money into grooming young players only to see them leave once they’ve become a finished product. Now that Lewis is 26 years old, he is in his prime playing years, and the Steelers won’t get to reap the benefits of their investment into his development. Hopefully, this isn’t a pattern that we’ll be seeing very often with young players.
Mundy has been a mediocre backup for the entire time he’s been with the Steelers. He never even came close to becoming a starter. Moreover, he never did anything that couldn’t have been done by any random undrafted free agent. So losing him is not a big loss for the Steelers.
Mundy signed with the New York Giants today, but other than his wife, I don’t think anyone really cares.
Colon is also going to New York. Only he won’t be joining Ryan Mundy on the Giants. Instead, Colon signed with the New York Jets.
I had been suggesting that the Steelers should move Colon to guard for years, and then last year they finally did, and he was great in the position. The problem was that Colon just couldn’t stay healthy. He missed 36 games over the past 3 years. And made a fortune while missing all of those games. So he can afford to sign for the one year, $1.2 million contract the Jets gave him.
Others to watch
We’ll be watching anxiously to see which of the other former Steelers will be signing with new teams. Rumor has it that James Harrison has had some very fruitful conversations with the Baltimore Ravens, who have lost 3 linebackers since the Super Bowl. I would hate seeing Harrison wearing purple and black. I’d also hate to see the Steelers have to face him twice per year.