Less than 48 hours into free agency and four Steelers who were part of those two 8-8 seasons are gone.
More succinctly, the Steelers didn’t want them back.
Running back Jonathan Dwyer went to Arizona, defensive linemen Al Woods signed with Tennessee and Ziggy Hood with Jacksonville and tight end David Johnson with San Diego with linebacker LaMarr Woodley (released and signed with Oakland) are gone and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and safety Ryan Clark soon to sign with somebody else as well.
Jonathan Dwyer (Arizona Cardinals) – Dwyer was released before the season last year and was promptly brought back. He proved to be a nice short-yardage back and ran with power and vigor when he got a chance to show it. Myself, I would’ve kept Dwyer, but you can’t blame Dwyer for wanting to get out of Pittsburgh. Still, it is kind of strange that the Steelers had no interest in Dwyer even though he signed for around $700,000 for one year. Seems reasonable to me. Keep in mind that Dwyer would’ve been a backup to Le’Veon Bell with the Steelers so is 3-4 carries a game worth it for Dwyer wanting to come back? Even though the Steelers have only Alvester Alexander and Tauren Poole left on the roster behind Bell, backup running backs are plenty in the NFL and they should be able to fill the void quite easily.
Ziggy Hood (Jacksonville Jaguars) – Hood never really fit in with the Steelers and now can officially be deemed a failed first-round pick. Hood never truly was able to make the conversion from a 4-3 tackle in college to 3-4 defensive end in the pros. Now, Hood didn’t get enough credit for what he did accomplish here. He was more than serviceable at the position, but you want a first-round pick to be more than serviceable. Hood was normally in the position he needed to be in, but had trouble getting off blocks and making tackles. I would’ve tried to bring Hood back especially with the lack of depth currently at the position but, once again, it isn’t a loss that will hurt much. There are better alternatives to Ziggy Hood on the open market.
Al Woods (Tennessee Titans) – This one might be the biggest loss for the Steelers, but not because of what he’s done on the field but more for his potential. Woods has played only 275 career NFL snaps over three years, but is valuable because he can play both end and nose. The Titans gave him $5 million over two years, which priced him out of the Steelers’ plans, and for good reason. But, once again, this isn’t a type of loss that the Steelers can’t move on from. Woods has been nothing more than a rotation player and very well that’s what he might only be in Tennessee as well.
David Johnson (San Diego Chargers) – Johnson has been hurt the better part of the past two years, and in reality, was more of a Bruce Arians offense type of player than Todd Haley. The Steelers signed Matt Spaeth last year to be their end-of-the-line blocking tight end. Not a big loss at all.
So, even though the Steelers have lost four free agents, cut a veteran and are about to lose two more, they really haven’t been big losses. Yeah, maybe depth wise they were, but not production wise.
And think, Clark is gone and they upgraded with Mike Mitchell. Woodley is gone to Oakland and they upgraded with Jason Worilds. If Sanders goes, they will upgrade in the draft.
The Steelers have some mid-level free agents coming in to look at and they just may sign some to fill those holes.
So settle down. It’s not that bad.