Free Agent Signings
Steelers sign QB Bruce Gradkowski to three-year deal
It appears that the Steelers have quickly addressed their backup quarterback situation as ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Steelers have come to terms with Pittsburgh native Bruce Gradkowski on a three-year deal.
The 30-year old Seton La Salle graduate is an ideal fit as the No. 2 quarterback as he has both experience as a backup and a starter.
He boasts only a 52.9 career completion percentage and 21 touchdowns to 24 interceptions. But he would represent an upgrade over both Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch, neither of which are currently under contract.
Gradkowski spent the past two seasons as Andy Dalton’s backup in Cincinnati. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2006 draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Steelers CB DeMarcus Van Dyke Signs Exclusive Rights Tender
In a not-so-surprising move, Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke has signed his one-year exclusive tender of $555,000. Exclusive rights free agents have no choice but to sign their tenders as they can’t negotiate with other teams. Van Dyke was signed last year by the Steelers after clearing waivers just prior to the start of the regular season after being waived by the Oakland Raiders. The fastest man at the 2011 NFL combine was originally drafted by the Raiders in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Van Dyke only saw time on special teams last year for the Steelers.
David Johnson re-signed to one-year deal
Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest reported on Tuesday night that the Steelers have re-signed tight end / fullback David Johnson to a one-year contract.
The fullback/tight end missed the entire 2012 season after tearing his ACL during the preseason.
Plaxico Burress re-signed to one-year deal
With the Steelers in need of wide receivers, they re-signed Plaxico Burress to a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum.
It’s a good move for the Steelers.
While Burress doesn’t have the speed to stretch the field like he once did, he is still a reliable red zone target, which is important as Steelers’ general manager Kevin Colbert attempts to find some weapons for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
More importantly, it comes at a minimal cost for a team that doesn’t have much money to spend this offseason.
The 11-year vet played in only three games last season and caught three passes for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Larry Foote re-signed to three-year deal
One of the Steelers main priorities this offseason was to keep Foote in a Steelers uniform.
They got a three-year deal done just before free agency began as there were rumors that Foote would join Bruce Arians with the Arizona Cardinals.
Foote, 32, had a surprisingly strong season in 2012, when he returned to the starting lineup to replace James Farrior. In 16 starts, Foote finished with a career-high 113 tackles and tied a career best with four sacks, leading the Steelers in tackles.
With very little depth at linebacker, it would have been next to impossible to replace the production that Foote brought to the table a season ago.
Jonathan Dwyer signs RFA tender
Nov 25, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer (27) during a game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Cleveland won 20-14. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
In a big of a surprise, restricted free agent Dwyer signed his low sixth-round tender before even testing the market. That likely was a sign that there wasn’t much of a market for Dwyer.
Dwyer signed the $1.323 million tender the Steelers placed on him and looks ready to get to work.
The former sixth-round pick out of Georgia Tech led the Steelers in rushing in 2012, gaining 623 yards on 156 carries with two touchdowns.
Currently the Steelers have only Dwyer and Baron Batch under contract in the backfield.
Steelers Re-Sign Ramon Foster to three-year deal
The Steelers and Foster have agreed to a three-year deal, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Foster has been probably the Steelers most consistent lineman over the course of the past two seasons and definitely their most durable, considering the rash of injuries the unit has seen.
The former undrafted rookie in 2009 started all 16 games last year (13 at right guard when David DeCastro was hurt and three at left guard when Willie Colon was injured).
With Colon out of the picture this season, there is a good chance that the 27-year old Foster competes for the starting job at left guard with Kelvin Beachum, who the Steelers are expected to move from tackle to guard this season.