Free Agency begins 12:00 a.m. on Friday
The Pittsburgh Steelers did not tender an offer to offensive lineman Darnell Stapleton on Wednesday but the team hasn’t closed the door on Stapleton returning.
The 3rd year offensive lineman was the Steelers starting guard for their 2008 Super Bowl team but ended up on injured reserve just days into training camp due to knee problems.
Stapleton whose versatility is valued by head coach Mike Tomlin is still of interest to Pittsburgh.
However, Stapleton’s injury in 2009 led to opportunities for others and the emergence of Ramon Foster and Doug Legursky in the Steelers system.
Coming off knee surgery it made little sense for the Steelers to tender Stapleton.
To improve a position that needs some overhauling, you can’t keep bringing everybody back.
Penguins GM Ray Shero made a similar reference that stands out to me in his first off-season when explaining the reason not to retain the likes of a Andy Hilbert who had 18 points in 19 games to end the 2005-2006 season playing alongside Sidney Crosby.
Stapleton will now become a free agent and a source says the Steelers have told him they are still interested in having him back, but want to explore depth options first.
Will Allen on the Steelers radar
The Pittsburgh Steelers will go into free agency looking for depth options and team will pursue safety Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Will Allen, whether Ryan Clark returns or not.
Mike Tomlin coached Allen at Tampa Bay and the Steelers regard him highly as a depth player. He’s is at the top of their radar to provide depth at the position and play a pivotal role on special teams.
Allen, 27, was named a pro bowl alternate in 2009 as a special teams player.