Mark Kaboly | Tribune-Review
The Steelers head into the offseason with 18 unrestricted free agents and six restricted free agents. We will take a look at each individual player up until free agency starts on March 12.
Name: Will Allen
Contract status: Unrestricted free agent
Safeties on the current roster: Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, Ross Ventrone, Robert Golden, Damon Cromartie-Smith
Free agent safeties: Will Allen, Ryan Mundy
2011 season: Allen started his first games for the Steelers since he signed a free-agent contract following the 2009 season, but it wasn’t until Ryan Mundy failed filling in for the injured Troy Polamalu. Allen replaced Mundy heading into a Week 6 game against Tennessee, and played well until Polamalu returned to the starting lineup seven weeks later. Allen put together his best season since he was a full-time starter for Tampa Bay in 2006 as he finished with 34 tackles, three pass defenses and a forced fumble despite playing only seven games. But more important than stats, the veteran provided stability in the back half of the defense to allow free safety Ryan Clark to make plays.
What about this: When Allen took over the strong safety position, the Steelers were ranked 11th overall in run defense. When he headed back to the bench before a Week 14 game against Baltimore, the Steelers were ranked 5th against the run.
What the Steelers should do with Allen: There’s no position that’s become more tenuous for the Steelers when it comes to depth than safety. Polamalu will be 32 in April and has missed 22 games over the past four seasons. Ryan Clark has been much more durable, but will be 34 midway through the 2013 seasons. Now, Allen isn’t young himself, but at least he provides some quality depth while the organization addresses the depth issues, most likely during April’s draft. If the Steelers can get Allen back for the veteran minimum, he’d be more than welcomed.
What the Steelers will do with Allen: The Steelers realize the importance of Allen when it comes to depth at safety and special teams, so expect Will Allen to be back for the 2013 season.
* Age at start of 2013 seasons