Free agent safety Ryan Clark will not be returning to Pittsburgh, according to multiple team sources, barring a breakthrough in talks. Sources in the organization, indicate the team has all but closed the door on Clark returning to Pittsburgh.
The team has remained in contact with Clarks agent Joel Turner throughout the past 72 hours but the Steelers expected to go in another direction and are unlikely to make any last ditch effort to keep the veteran safety around.
Clark is currently involved in serious discussions with the Miami Dolphins, and a league source tells me a deal is expected to be finalized by Monday afternoon.
Clark is meeting with Dolphins front office executives, including Bill Parcells early Monday morning.
Clark is likely to receive around $3.5 – $4 million per season and a signing bonus upwards of $6 million.
A team official characterized the Steelers offer as a “fair offer” but it’s believed the offer was slightly less than $3 million per season.
Sources in Clark’s camp have not commented on the Steelers offer, when asked.
Just weeks ago, Kevin Colbert named Clark along with Casey Hampton and Jeff Reed as priorities.
The Steelers finalized a three year deal with Casey Hampton during the scouting combine and placed the franchise tag on Jeff Reed with intention of signing Reed long-term.
Clark had drawn interest from up to 8 teams but throughout the process is seeking the right fit. Teams such as the Cleveland Browns which expressed significant interest are of no interest to Clark.
The Steelers did have a strong interest in retaining Clark but at their own price.
Losing Clark would leave the Steelers safety position with absolutely no depth and no viable replacement in the system.
Some believe that Ryan Mundy can immediately step in and fill Clark’s shoes but those who believe that haven’t studied Mundy on tape from last season.
The Steelers will look to free agency and the draft to add some much needed depth at such a crucial position.
Currently on the free agent market, the Steelers focus has been on cornerback Leigh Bodden and safety Will Allen.
The Steelers expressed immediate interest just hours into free agency and the team has been in frequent contact with agent Alvin Keels.
The Steelers are currently regarded as a surprise suitor for Bodden. Bodden visited the Houston Texans today. Reportedly, the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots are among the other suitors for Bodden.