The Pittsburgh Steelers began the 2014 off season by making a splash – a rare day one free agency signing in the form of Mike Mitchell, who started last year for Carolina. The move was ballyhooed as an immediate boost to the secondary and signaling the departure of Ryan Clark.
While this news is unfortunate, as it robs Mitchell time to learn Dick LeBeau’s system as well as bonding with Troy Polamalu, it could serve as a boon for Robert Golden and Shamarko Thomas, who stand poised to benefit from the extra reps.
Regardless of whether first round pick Ryan Shazier, Sean Spence or Vince Williams wins the starting slot at inside linebacker this year, one thing is certain – should the starter get injured on opening day or God forbid Lawrence Timmons should fall injured – Kion Wilson will not replace him as the Steelers waived Wilson as their first training camp transaction.
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Wilson’s tenure as a starter quickly gave way to Williams, who himself struggled, but at least Williams primary role was to play linebacker, whereas Wilson was on the active roster to play special teams.
Such bottom roster moves are normal for this time of year, and relflect the Steelers depth at inside linebacker, which figures to be a strength in 2014 in contrast to the glaring weakness it was in 2013.