In the first month of free agency the Pittsburgh Steelers have lost a cornerback, an offensive tackle, a nose tackle, two inside linebackers and a running back while picking up a tight end and an offensive lineman.
- That’s 5 free agent defections vs. 2 free agent acquisitions, for those keeping tabs.
Pittsburgh took a step towards righting the balance today in a move that saw the Steelers sign Steven Johnson to play special teams, and provide depth at inside linebacker.
Steven Johnson broke into the league as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2012 with the Denver Broncos where he appeared in 11 games as a rookie and followed that up with appearances in all 16 games during his second year. Johnson’s most extensive play came in 2014, when he made seven starts for the Denver Broncos and appeared in 14 games.
- The Broncos did not retain him after the season, and Johnson signed on with the Tennessee Titans
Playing in Dick LeBeau’s defense appeared in sixteen games. Per Pro Football Reference, Steven Johnson has 33 total tackles, 14 assists, one half sack, 1 forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
Johnson Signing Shows Tomlin, Colbert March to Own Drummer
Two of the Steelers 5 free agent losses thus far have come where Pittsburgh’s depth remains at its thinnest – cornerback and defensive line. In contrast, the Steelers lost inside linebackers Sean Spence and Terence Garvin yet with Vince Williams, L.J. Fort and perhaps Jordan Zumwalt, the Steelers still have solid depth behind Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier.
- So how do the Steelers respond?
They out and sign a reserve inside linebacker/special teams player while Mike Tomlin declares that the Steelers won’t sign a free agent cornerback.
This comes as no surprise – Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert rarely make personnel decisions out of fear, and steadfastly march to their own drummer.