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MONDAY BUZZ COLUMN

Know any good offensive linemen?

The Steelers may be looking for one or two after free agency kicks in on Wednesday. They have five players from their offensive line becoming unrestricted free agents.

The two most important are Kelvin Beachum and Ramon Foster.

Foster was the starter at left guard last season and Beachum was the starting left tackle until he blew out a knee in week seven.

Beachum was on his way to a huge pay day if he had stayed healthy but his injury may have made him more affordable to the Steelers.

Foster is a good left guard but probably not good enough to break the Steelers’ bank.

Fans and media like to criticize the Steelers for not being bold enough when it comes to free agents but the fact that they haven’t had a losing season since 2003 tells you all you need to know about their approach.

Since the beginning of free agency there hasn’t been a team in the NFL that’s done a better job of managing the salary cap and staying competitive.

Most of the players who were allowed to leave haven’t been missed and most of the free agents who have been brought in have made the team better.

So, as much as you might like to see the Steelers do some serious shopping for some secondary help and someone to replace Heath Miller at tight end, don’t count on it.

You probably didn’t get too excited when they signed DeAngelo Williams as a free agent to be a backup running back last year, but he turned out to be one of their best signings ever.

Williams is a perfect example of the kind of free agent the Steelers have signed over the years, going all the way back to 1994 and 1995 when defensive tackle Ray Seals and running back Erric Pegram helped them get to two AFC Championship games and Super Bowl XXX.

They weren’t big name signings but they filled major holes and made the team more competitive.

It might not be a bad idea for the Steelers to look over the list of free agent quarterbacks.

One of the guys on there is Bruce Gradkowski, who’s started the last three seasons as the Steelers’ backup quarterback. He just turned 33 a few weeks ago and has taken one regular season snap since 2012.

Ben Roethlisberger just turned 34 and he showed signs last season that he may have become injury prone.

The Steelers are considered a Super Bowl contender. Do they remain one if Gradkowski or Landry Jones become the starting quarterback?

There’s a long list of the usual journeymen quarterback suspects out there who become unrestricted free agents on Wednesday. Lot’s of guys named Matt Schaub and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Based on what happened with the quarterback position last season, finding a plug-in backup quarterback with a proven track record as a starter should be as much of a priority as shoring up the secondary and the defensive line and finding a tight end.

Is Gradkowski that guy?

If you were Todd Haley, would you want to go into the season knowing you’re one knee injury away from Landry Jones?

The Steelers owe it to the rest of the guys on their roster to at least give one of those journeymen a look.


Peyton ManningPeyton Manning finally made it official and retired over the weekend. He’s one of the best quarterbacks of all time. His numbers and his longevity are proof of that, but he’s also one of the best all time examples of how wrong scouts can be.

Remember when there was actually a serious discussion about whether he or Ryan Leaf should be the first overall pick in the draft?

Lots of scouts and personnel guys thought Leaf would be the better pick.


pens-ogo-Losing to the Calgary Flames on Saturday ruined what could have been a really good week for the Penguins. They played two excellent periods against the Capitals in a back-to-back game in Washington Tuesday night, ran out of gas in the third and blew a 2-0 lead.

But they followed that with a blowout win over the Rangers.

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About The Author

John Steigerwald

TIOPS Columnist

John Steigerwald, a life long Pittsburgher, has been covering PITTSBURGH sports since 1977 as a TV anchor/reporter, columnist radio reporter/commentator and talk show host. He is also the author of one of the best selling local books in Pittburgh history, "Just Watch The Game."

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