Free Agency Rumors
Steelers to bring in OLB Victor Butler for a visit
A teammate of cornerback Keenan Lewis’s at Oregon State, Butler was a fourth round pick in 2009, and has performed fairly well in his time with Dallas.
In an offseason that’s seen the Steelers lose a third round pick from the 2009 draft (Mike Wallace) and their first round pick in 2008 (Rashard Mendenhall), they may be in position to take a young player off another team.
Cowboys outside linebacker Victor Butler, a fourth-round pick in 2009, is set to visit the Steelers, reported CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora via Twitter Wednesday.
La Canfora said “several teams” will be interested in Butler, who had three sacks and a forced fumble, appearing in all 16 of Dallas’s games last season. Interest from other teams is intriguing, and while the Steelers have been fleeced out of a few of their new fourth-year free agents (with Keenan Lewis, a college teammate of Butler’s at Oregon State), it’s tantalizing to think about signing someone else’s.
Butler saw limited duty with the Cowboys, considering the talent they have at outside linebacker. He provided decent pressure when he was in there, but there are some concerns about the level of run support he’s able to provide.
The Steelers had Dan Connor in for a visit recently, but no contract materialized out of it. Butler would be the second, and would be in position to compete for a starting position with Jason Worilds, and fill in for LaMarr Woodley when he pulls a hamstring.
Kellen Davis set to visit Steelers
With the signing of Martellus Bennett to a four year, $20 million deal on Tuesday, the Chicago Bears decided to part ways with tight end Kellen Davis.
Now Davis has his first visit lined up since becoming a free agent.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Davis will visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday.
Davis served as the Bears starting tight end for each of the last two seasons but caught just 37 passes for 435 yards and six touchdowns over that span. He has been remarkably healthy as he didn’t miss a game in any of his first five seasons in the league with Chicago.
Davis could be an option to replace backup tight end Leonard Pope who is an unrestricted free agent.
Steelers have Beanie Wells in for a physical
The Cardinals signed Rashard Mendenhall as a free agent this week to close a hole at running back that opened when they released Beanie Wells.
Mendenhall’s departure left the Steelers with an opening of their own in the backfield. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Steelers started looking into options to fill their opening by bringing Wells in for a physical this week.
Moms got me some nice clothes laid out on the bed like its the first day of school lol bout to make this hour & halfdrive to Pittsburgh.
— Beanie Wells (@BeanieWells26) March 14, 2013
Wells’ knees have given him plenty of problems and there were reports out of Arizona that the Cardinals thought his right knee would continue to be troublesome in the future. We don’t know what the doctors in Pittsburgh found during their examination, but Wells hasn’t signed with the team so there could be concerns on the Steelers part as well.
Or they could just be waiting to see who else might become an option for them at running back as free agency progresses while keeping Wells in their back pocket until the time comes for them to revisit that option.
Giants close to deal with Ryan Mundy
Apparently, the Ryan Mundy visit with the Giants went well.
According to USA Today‘s Mike Garafolo, the Steelers safety is close to a deal while in New York.
The addition of a safety with five starts in four years isn’t necessarily interesting in and of itself. But it does point to the soft market for veteran safeties.
Dashon Goldson (Buccaneers), LaRon Landry (Colts) and Glover Quin (Lions) got quick deals, but the money seems to be gone.
That leaves a deep crop of veterans, including Giants free agent Kenny Phillips, on the outside looking in.
Steelers Free Agent CB Keenan Lewis Visiting Saints
We haven’t heard much news regarding Pittsburgh Steelers free agent cornerback Keenan Lewis since the 2013 free agency signing period started on Tuesday, but on Wednesday Lewis posted on Twitter that he would be visiting the New Orleans Saints.
Lewis is from the New Orleans area and the Saints could definitely use some help in their secondary as they move to a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
The Saints. much like the Steelers, don’t have a lot of salary cap room to work with, however, and they were forced to restructure quite a few contracts over the course of the last few weeks in order to get under the $123 million number.
The free agent cornerback market is flooded right now and you would have to think that the Saints are looking for a bargain.
Report: Steelers Interested In Former Bears TE Kellen Davis Once Again
The Pittsburgh Steelers brought in tight end Kellen Davis last off-season for a free agent visit, but he eventually signed back with the Chicago Bears. On Wednesday, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports via Twitter that the recently released Davis once again has the interest of Pittsburgh.
The 6-7, 267-pound Davis signed a two-year, $6 million contract that included $2.7 million guaranteed last off-season with the team that drafted him back in 2008. He only recorded 19 catches for 229 yards and 2 touchdowns in 16 games last season and only has 47 career receptions.
The Steelers re-signed tight end fullback David Johnson on Tuesday, but most likely would like to add a better blocking tight end, especially with Heath Miller likely to be sidelined at the start of the season because of the knee injury that he suffered late last year.
Davis is a much better blocker than Leonard Pope, who the Steelers signed last year in free agency. Pope is currently an unrestricted free agent and unlikely to be re-signed. As far as we know, Davis has not been scheduled for a visit as of yet.
Rashard Mendenhall to visit Cardinals, Broncos
Schefter reports that the former Steelers featured back has visits planned to both Arizona and Denver this week and Mendenhall’s agent says they have contacted plenty of teams.
RT @raybeingray: Rashard Mendenhall signing with AZ today? … If they offer him enough, maybe. But he’d like to take planned trip to Denver
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2013
There’s no chance of a Mendenhall return to Pittsburgh, but signing in Arizona where Bruce Arians is the new head coach is a bit interesting.
When Mendenhall does sign, he can walk out on his teammates once more. This time for good.
Steelers interested in RB Beanie Wells
Tim Kavanagh of ESPN.com is reporting that the Steelers are one of two teams to already show interest in the former Ohio State product, with the other being the Cincinnati Bengals, who have much more cap space.
Wells is only 24 and has averaged 4.0 yards per carry over his four-year NFL career and has found the end zone 24 times.
Out of those four seasons, Wells has only eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark one occasion (2011) and is coming off a season in which he gained only 234 yards on 88 carries (2.7 ypc).
QB Bruce Gradkowski to visit
The Steelers need to address the backup quarterback position and it looks as if they are turning their attention to the Seton LaSalle graduate Gradkowski.
ESPN’s Schefter is reporting that Gradkowski has a visit scheduled with the Steelers on Wednesday.
Bengals QB Bruce Gradkowski scheduled to visit the Steelers on Wednesday. Steelers looking for another backup.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2013
The 30-year old Pittsburgh native could be an ideal fit as the No. 2 quarterback as he has both experience as a backup and a starter. Gradkowski only has a 6-14 record as a starter, but has managed six fourth-quarter comebacks over his career. He is a tough quarterback who can move around the pocket and implement a short passing attack, which would fit in nicely with the Steelers. Gradkowski has 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.
LB Dan Connor on Steelers radar
ESPN Dallas’ Calvin Watkins reported that the former Cowboys and Carolina Panthers linebacker will visit the Steelers.
Dan Connor has a visit scheduled with the Steelers.
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) March 12, 2013
Connor has only started 27 games in his career, but he has experience in the 3-4 defense. Last season with the Cowboys, Connor started in eight games and had 57 tackles.
However with the late signing of Foote, Connor may be looking for other options as he would only provide depth in Pittsburgh.
LB Moise Fokou schedules visit
The Steelers need linebacker depth and according to CBS’ NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, the Steelers are considering Fokou, who is scheduled for a visit sometime this week.
Moise Fokou has a visit with the Steelers scheduled after his trip to Tenn
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 12, 2013
Fokou is undersized at 6’1” and 233 pounds, and likely would only provide depth for the Steelers, but Fokou has plenty of starting experience with the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts.
He started 22 games in three seasons with the Eagles and one game last year with the Colts. His best season came in 2010 when he started 11 games and finished with 53 tackles and one sack.
Report: Steelers Have Interest In Redskins Free Agent LB Lorenzo Alexander
Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of several teams that has interest in Washington Redskins free agent linebacker Lorenzo Alexander.
Alexander is a solid special teams player and new Steelers special teams coach Danny Smith knows him well from his time spent with the Redskins as their special teams coach. Alexander made the pro Bowl this past season as a special teams player.
Alexander was originally signed by the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent in 2005. He has spent the last seven season in Washington with the Redskins.
Last season Alexander recorded 46 total tackles and 2.5 sacks in 325 snaps on defense, mostly at the outside linebacker position.
Keep checking back to Pittsburgh Blitz for updates on all of the wheeling’s and dealings of free agency.
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