If there’s one word to describe the Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 off season “unpredictable” would have to be a strong candidate.
Take the case of James Harrison. First the Steelers wanted James back at a 30% pay cut, with the ability to earn it back via incentives. Deebo said “No” and became a cap casualty and an ex-Steeler. Then when Silverback didn’t get greenbacks waived in front of him, the Steelers declined to bring him back.
- As expected, the Steelers lost Mike Wallace and Keenan Lewis; they also brought back William Gay and Matt Speath – yeah, we all saw that coming too.
And of course there was Emmanuel Sanders. Emmanuel Sanders of the mysterious “yes-New England-tendered-him-no-we-didn’t-yes-they-did” one year restricted free agent tender. Both conventional wisdom and the inside word was the Steelers would let Sanders walk and take the extra pick.
- The Steelers of course matched New England’s offer for Sanders.
Matching Sanders tender was supposed to have burned through the Steelers remaining cap space. Except it didn’t, as the Steelers moved decisively to prevent Green Bay from making a run on one of its other restricted free agents, namely the newly resigned Steve McLendon.
- How does all of this relate the headline you ask?
Well, it was just yesterday that the Steelers released a partial transcript of Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert’s conference call with season ticket holders where he explained that picks from the Steelers 2013 NFL Draft Class would have to wait until June to get their contracts, when the Steelers liberated Willie Colon’s cap space.
And on the heels of that news the Steelers promptly went out and came to terms with 4th round draft pick Shamarko Thomas. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the deal is for four years, per the new CBA, and terms were not disclosed.
In practical terms neither the Steelers nor Thomas get an added benefit to signing early. But with Ryan Clark entering the final year of his contract, and age and injuries to Troy Polamalu mounting, Thomas’ development critical to the Steelers ability to rearm while Ben Roethlisberger remains a viable NFL franchise quarterback.
Welcome to Steelers Nation Shamarko Thomas, may your next four years be prosperous ones.