Free Agent Losses (releases)
Keenan Lewis Signs with New Orleans Saints
Cornerback Keenan Lewis came to an agreement with the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, which Lewis confirmed through his Facebook account. Contract details have yet to be disclosed.
Lewis played for the Steelers since he was drafted in 2009, cracking the starting lineup in 2012. He responded very well, finishing second in the NFL in passes defensed and helping the Steelers finish first in the NFL in passing yards allowed. (More)
Rashard Mendenhall signs with Cardinals
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mendenhall is heading out west after agreeing to a one-year deal with the Cardinals.
It was a rocky final season for Mendenhall in a Steelers uniform as he started the season recovering from ACL surgery, then never emerged as the featured back he once was, experiencing plenty fumble and discipline problems along the way. Mendenhall had the worst season of his five-year NFL career since his rookie campaign of 2008. The two-time 1,000 yard back carried the ball only 51 times on the season for a paltry 182 yards (3.6 ypc).
But the Arizona situation could be the perfect one to rejuvenate Mendenhall’s career. He will likely be the primary ball carrier and will reunite with former offensive coordinator, who is the Cardinals new head coach.
Mike Wallace signs with Dolphins
Since his contract holdout during training camp a season ago, Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans knew this day was coming- the day that Mike Wallace signed with another team as an unrestricted free agent.
Wallace was the prize of this year’s free agent class and cashed in in a big way, signing a five-year, $65 million contract with the Miami Dolphins according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It is also being reported that $30 million of Wallace’s new contract is guaranteed money.
Willie Colon released
The Steelers cut the often injured Colon and designated him for June 1 release. By not officially releasing Colon until June 1, they will save $5.5 million in cap room, compared to the $1.4 million they would save if they cut him now.
The writing was all but on the wall for Colon when the Steelers announced that they had re-signed Foster to a three-year deal.
With Foster in place and five other young lineman in place (David DeCastro, Mike Adams, Marcus Gilbert, Maurkice Pouncey and Kelvin Beachum), there is really no room on the roster for an injury plagued Colon, nor his $5 million plus salary.
Steelers release James Harrison
The Steelers had until Tuesday afternoon to decide what to do with the massive contract of linebacker James Harrison.
They didn’t need to wait that long to make a decision.
In an inevitable salary cup cost cutting move, the Steelers announced that they released the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker.
Steelers’ general manager Kevin Colbert also confirmed the news by saying through a press release on the team’s website:
“We have informed James Harrison that we have released him. James has been an integral part of our success during his years in Pittsburgh and has helped us win two Lombardi trophies during that time. We appreciate all of his efforts and wish him the best.”
Harrison will be 35 and coming off of a few injury plagued seasons. Considering the way his production has fallen off in the past few years, it made little sense to keep a guy with a cap hit of over $10 million where the Steelers have so many other areas to address and very little cap room to do so.
The 2008 Defensive Player of the Year really hasn’t been the same player the past few years. Harrison played in 13 regular-season games for the Steelers in 2012, recording 70 combined tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles. His six sacks were the fewest he’s recorded in a season since 2006, although he played much better down the stretch than he did earlier in the season.
A two-time Super Bowl champion, Harrison has 64 sacks, 29 forced fumbles and five interceptions for his career.
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