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First week of free agency was a busy one

The first week of free agency was a busy one for the Steelers, re-signing multiple players of their own and adding five new free agents to continue to bolster the roster on both sides of the ball.

It all kicked off on Monday when the team re-signed offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor and cornerback Arthur Maulet. It continued throughout the week, with special teams ace Miles Killebrew re-signing and quarterback Dwayne Haskins signing his restricted free agent tender.

Take a look at the newest additions to the Steelers' roster

The week was capped off with the signing of five free agents, including quarterback Mitch Trubisky, linebacker Myles Jack, offensive linemen Mason Cole and James Daniels and cornerback Levi Wallace.

The team also terminated the contracts of offensive tackle Zach Banner and linebacker Joe Schobert.

The full week is recapped below, with a day-by-day outline of how things played out.

Thursday, March 17

Trubisky signed to two-year contract

The Steelers signed free agent quarterback Mitch Trubisky to a two-year contract.

"This is definitely where I wanted to be," said Trubisky. "Going through free agency with my agent we went through all of the options where I thought would be a great fit for me in the future. When we found out Pittsburgh had interest, I talked to my agent and said this is where I want to be. I thought it would be a great situation for me to come here. Luckily it worked out. I am happy to be here."

Trubisky brings with him plenty of experience, starting 50 of the 57 games he has played in during his five-year career.

He spent the first four seasons of his career with the Chicago Bears, who selected him in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the second player taken overall. He played for the Buffalo Bills in 2021, where he backed-up Josh Allen, playing in only six games with eight pass attempts.

"I have a lot more experience now," said Trubisky. "Taking all the games I started in Chicago and everything I learned in Buffalo, I think I am more of a veteran now. I have been through three or four offenses at this point, so I know what I like, I know what works. I know what great communication and culture looks like between players and coaches. I feel like mentally I am in a really great space to get back on the field and do great things. I am here to do whatever I can to help the Steelers win."

During his time with the Bears, Trubisky started 50 of 51 games, completing 1,010 of 1,577 passes for 10,609 yards and 64 touchdowns, 37 interceptions and a passer rating of 87.2. He also brings mobility, with 190 rush attempts for 1,057 yards and eight touchdowns.

Trubisky was the fastest Bears quarterback to reach the 10,000-yard plateau, doing so in 49 games. He passed Bears legendary quarterback Jim McMahon, who reached the 10,000-yard mark in 58 games.

He had career highs in passing yards (3,223) and touchdowns (24) in 2018, and completions (326) and attempts (516) in 2019, while racking up 3,138 yards and 17 touchdowns that season and being selected to the Pro Bowl.

In his rookie season, Trubisky set Bears' franchise records in multiple categories, including completions (196) and passing yards (2,193).

In five seasons he has completed 1,016 of 1,585 passes for 10,652 yards and 64 touchdowns, with 38 interceptions. He also played in two postseason games, completing 45 of 72 passes for 502 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 92.5.

Jack signed to two-year contract

The Steelers signed free agent linebacker Myles Jack to a two-year contract.

Jack spent six seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and was released just before the start of free agency.

"Once I got on the phone with Coach (Mike) Tomlin and got to speak with him, the first thing he said is we are trying to win a championship and we need that on defense. Once he said that it was a no-brainer," said Jack. "That's what I am here to do. That's all I want to do, get to work and play football. That's it."

Jack started 83 of the 89 games he played in during his six years with the Jaguars and started every game he played in following his rookie season. In his six seasons he recorded 511 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, 17 quarterback hits, three interceptions, 15 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns.

Jack led the Jaguars in tackles in 2021 with 108, including 62 solo stops. He also had three tackles for a loss and two quarterback hurries. Jack was voted a team captain for the second-straight year and was the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee.

In 2020 Jack started all 14 games he played in with a career-high 118 tackles, 72 of them solo stops. He also had six tackles for a loss, five passes defensed, a sack and an interception. He was one of five NFL linebackers with at least 115 tackles, two fumble recoveries and one interception in the 2020 season.

Jack started 11 games in 2019 before being placed on the Reserve/Injured List on Dec. 5 with a knee injury. He finished the season with 66 tackles, 42 solo stops, four passes defensed and one interception.

He started every game in 2018, recording his first career 100-plus tackle season. He was an iron man, playing every defensive snap, which was 1,020 snaps, and was one of only three players in the NFL to play 100 percent of his team's defensive snaps.

Jack was drafted by the Jaguars in the second-round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the 36th pick overall, out of UCLA. He played in 16 games his rookie season, making 10 starts. He finished the year with 22 tackles.

Cole signed to three-year contract

The Steelers signed free agent offensive lineman Mason Cole to a three-year contract on Thursday.

Cole spent his first three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals and played for the Minnesota Vikings in 2021. In his four seasons he has played in 60 games, starting 39, working at both the center and guard positions.

"I think the biggest thing was the opportunity with the offensive line," said Cole. "I never cared where I play, it's about whatever I can do to help this team win and bring a Lombardi Trophy here to the City of Pittsburgh. Whatever that role is, I am here for it, and whatever they need me to do."

Cole was traded from the Vikings to the Cardinals last March. Last season he played in 14 games, starting seven for the Vikings. He started four of those games at center, beginning in Week 9 at Baltimore through Week 12, and then started the next three games at right guard. Cole finished the 2021 season on the Reserve/Injured List with an elbow injury.

In his three seasons with the Cardinals, Cole played in 46 games, starting 32. He started 30 of those games at center and two at guard.

Cole was drafted by the Cardinals in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the 97th overall selection. In his rookie season, Cole started all 16 games at center, becoming one of six offensive linemen in his draft class to do so.

Cole played collegiately at the University of Michigan where he set a school record for offensive linemen, starting all 51 games during his time there.

Daniels signed to three-year contract

The Steelers signed free agent offensive lineman James Daniels to a three-year contract.

Daniels spent his first four seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, who selected him in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the 39th overall selection.

In four seasons Daniels has played in 54 games, starting 48 of them. He has started 23 games at left guard, 17 at right guard and eight at center.

In 2021 he started all 17 games for the Bears at right guard, part of a line that blocked for an offense that had multiple 100-yard rushing games during the season.

The 2020 season didn't play out the way he would have liked. He started the first five games at left guard, before suffering a pectoral injury against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 5, causing him to miss the rest of the season.

The 2019 season saw Daniels split time between center and left guard, starting all 16 games but splitting the positions. He started the eight games at center, before moving to left guard for the second half of the season.

Daniels has been a regular in the starting lineup since his rookie season, when he played in 16 games, starting 10 at left guard. He was part of a line that season that allowed just 33 sacks, which was tied for third fewest in the NFC. He was also named to the 2018 All-Rookie team.

Daniels played college football at the University of Iowa where he started 23 games at center in his three seasons.

Wallace signed to two-year contract

The Steelers signed free agent cornerback Levi Wallace to a two-year contract.

"I've always been a fan of Pittsburgh and how they play defense here," said Wallace. "When Pittsburgh called, I was more than excited to come. I am excited to be here. I am excited to be a part of this special place and special defense."

Wallace said he is excited to come in and work with Coach Mike Tomlin and the rest of the coaching staff, a team he admired from a distance before signing.

"I am ready to learn under them and fit into this defense," said Wallace. "Wherever I can fit in, wherever they need me, I am here to compete and to make plays for the Steelers. That's why I am here, because of my competitive spirit. I have that fighter's mentality, that fighting spirit. I look forward to challenges. This is another chapter, another challenge, and I am excited to take it on full speed ahead."

Wallace has played in 52 career games, starting all of them. He has 219 tackles in four seasons, 171 of them solo stops. He also has recorded 30 passes defensed, six interceptions, seven tackles for a loss, two quarterback hits and a fumble recovery.

Wallace started at cornerback for the Bills in all 17 games in 2021, playing 92.2% of the defensive snaps. He recorded 58 tackles, including 17 solo stops, a team-high 10 passes defensed, two interceptions, a fumble recovery and a tackle for a loss.

He recorded a career-high 76 tackles, including 66 solo stops, in 2019, adding four tackles for a loss and two interceptions and nine passes defensed.

Wallace originally signed with the Bills as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2018 NFL Draft, and his 52 starts are the most by an undrafted defensive back since 2011. His rookie season he started seven games, recording 37 tackles and three passes defensed.

He played collegiately at the University of Alabama where the former walk-on earned a scholarship and started for their National Championship team in 2017, alongside Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Steelers terminate Schobert's contract

The Steelers terminated the contract of linebacker Joe Schobert.

Schobert started 16 games in 2021 at inside linebacker, finishing the season with 112 tackles, including 70 solo stops. He had six passes defensed, two tackles for a loss, one quarterback hurry, one interception and one forced fumble.

The team acquired Schobert in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars during the 2021 training camp. He spent his first four seasons with the Cleveland Browns, who selected him in the fourth-round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Wednesday, March 16

Haskins signed

Quarterback Dwayne Haskins signed a one-year restricted free agent tender.

Haskins, who was originally signed by the Steelers in the 2021 offseason, didn't see any playing time last season, but after the season said he feels like he can still be a starter in the NFL.

"I feel like I can be a starter in this league. I got drafted for that reason," said Haskins in January. "I definitely believe I have the talent to. I just haven't put it all together yet. And that's something I have to do this offseason to put myself in position to play.

"I've wanted to be a quarterback my entire life. Being a quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers is a dream. I always had great respect for the black and gold. Great respect for Coach (Mike) Tomlin, 15 seasons with no losing season. I want to show him that I want this bad. I want to be a leader. I want to be a guy that people can rely on, on and off the field to be more than just a guy that can throw a ball, talented enough to be in a position where I can execute at a high level and keep the Steelers way."

Haskins was drafted in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the No. 15 pick overall, by the Washington Commanders. He has completed 267 of 444 pass attempts for 2,804 yards (60.1%) with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in two seasons. In 2020 he completed 148 of 241 passes for 1,439 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions, before being released by Washington.

The 2021 season was a different one for him, but he used the time to learn and grow.

"I feel like I learned a lot from not playing," said Haskins. "Coach T, a lot of guys just wanted me to just have an opportunity to sit back and learn. I never really had a chance to get to learn the NFL game the way that it should be done and the way the Steelers want it done. They gave me an opportunity to understand the Steelers way of how they want their quarterbacks to operate. That was a great learning experience to be able to move forward this year and try to embody what it is to be a guy like Ben, take over a great franchise the way that he did.

"Anytime you get an opportunity to sit back and learn, you get to see what to do and what not to do. And I feel like I had a great chance this year to see what it's like to be a leader. A guy like Ben, a Hall of Fame quarterback, guys have a lot of respect for him. Especially when we play other teams. Players on the opposing team showing a lot of gratitude and respect. I think that the best thing for me was being able to see it in practice every day. Some days, on Wednesdays, Ben would have a vet day. I was able to go with the ones, able to go against the first team defense, and it was a good experience as far as still being able to progress and get better. So, I got better this year even if I didn't get a chance to play."

Steelers terminate Banner's contract

The Steelers terminated the contract of offensive tackle Zach Banner.

Banner played in 22 games in four seasons with the Steelers, starting two.

He played in just seven games in 2021, and in only one game in 2020 after suffering a season-ending injury in the opener.

Banner was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the 137th overall selection. He was released by the Colts, and signed with the Cleveland Browns, playing in eight games in 2017.

Tuesday, March 15

Killebrew signed to two-year contract

The Steelers signed safety Miles Killebrew to a two-year contract. He was set to become unrestricted free agent.

Killebrew originally signed with the Steelers during the 2021 offseason and was a special teams standout last season, blocking two punts last season. He finished tied for sixth on the team with seven special teams tackles.

Killebrew was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Southern Utah. He has played in 95 games in his five seasons, starting four.

Killebrew has 62 career tackles, six passes defensed and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown in 2017, and one forced fumble.

Since being drafted in 2016 he has 47 solo special teams tackles, the third-most in the NFL during that time span.

Monday, March 14

Okorafor signed to three-year contract

The Steelers signed offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor to a three-year contract. Okorafor was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.

Okorafor, the team's third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, started 16 of 17 games at right tackle in 2021. It was his second straight season primarily in a starting role, having started 15 of the 16 games he played in during the 2020 season as well.

Okorafor said he wanted to remain in the black and gold, with a big reason being Coach Mike Tomlin.

"I think just being coached by Mike Tomlin and knowing everything he is doing, and what there could be after Ben (Roethlisberger)," said Okorafor after signing. "It will be different not having Ben around, but it's also a change that was eventually going to happen. I want to be a part of the change."

Okorafor has played in 46 games in his four seasons, starting 35, and has started both postseason contests he has played in.

He said it's now time for him to step up in different ways, including from a leadership role.

"I feel like at this point I don't really have a choice," said Okorafor. "I think that is something I have to do. I have had a little bit of a talk with Coach Tomlin. I think that is going to be my next role, how to lead better."

Maulet signed to two-year contract

The Steelers signed cornerback Arthur Maulet to a two-year contract on Monday. Maulet, who originally signed with the team last May, was set to become an unrestricted free agent.

Maulet played in 16 games in 2021, starting two. He finished the season with 46 tackles, five tackles for a loss and two quarterback hits.

Maulet spent two seasons with the New York Jets (2019-20), playing in 23 games over the two seasons and starting 11 of them, before joining the Steelers.

He entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Memphis, signing with the New Orleans Saints following the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent time with the Saints and Indianapolis Colts during the 2018 season, before heading to the Jets.

For his career he has played in 50 games, starting 14, and has recorded 115 tackles, 87 of them solo stops, one sack, eight passes defensed, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.