The Pittsburgh Steelers entered free agency both salary cap strapped and dangerously thin at inside linebacker. And with one bold* roll of the dice they helped shore up depth at inside linebacker while (probably) saving themselves at least 500,000 dollars in the process, when the resigned unrestricted free agent Stevenson Sylvester. (*Ok, that’s “bold” with a very lower case “b”)
The Steelers drafted Sylvester in the 5th round of the 2010 NFL draft and could have secured right of first refusal or compensation in the form of a 5th round pick by offering Sylvester a restricted free agent tender of 1.33 million.
However, the Steelers opted not to offer Sylvester any tender making him an unrestricted free agent, allowing him to sign with a team of his choosing. But as obersved here in the free agent focus on Sylvester, no one was going to offer Stevenson Sylvester big money.
Sylvester had a strong rookie season looking good on special teams, but struggled with spot duty in 2011 and saw his 2012 season hobbled by injuries. The reality is that Sylvester will likely have to fight for a roster spot in training camp, especially of the Steelers end up making linebacker a priority in the 2013 NFL Draft as their pre-draft visits indicate.
Nonetheless, the Steelers now have a body at inside linebacker with experience in a Dick LeBeau defense to back up Lawrence Timmons and Larry Foote, which is something they could not say 48 hours ago.
Free Agent Running Back, Linebacker also Pay Visits
The Steelers also entertained former Pitt running back LaRod Stephens-Howling who most recently played for Pittsburgh West (aka the Arizona Cardinals) and former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Tavares Gooden.