By Teresa Varley
The Steelers have signed several free agents this offseason, but all of them have been their own. And look for that trend to continue this year.
Only two unrestricted free agents have been in to visit the Steelers, wide receiver Joey Galloway and cornerback Chris Carr. Both have since signed elsewhere.
The Steelers have re-signed many of their own players and are working on long-term extensions on Max Starks, who has signed the franchise tag and linebacker James Harrison, who has one-year remaining on his current contract.
"To us it's a productive offseason, keeping our own players," said director of football operations Kevin Colbert while attending the NFL's owners meetings. "The dollars we have invested in our own, I think will match up. You're not really in an arms race as far as spending dollars, but we've made significant investments in our own. And we're not done. We still have some things we want to accomplish internally. We're trying to get Max to a long-term deal and we want to sign James Harrison to a long-term extension.
"As long as we're keeping the majority of our own, that's what we do. We just have to supplement with the draft."
The Steelers have been talking with Harrison since February and Colbert thinks that a deal will be worked out and is satisfied with how negotiations are progressing.
"Sure, we both get frustrated at the pace sometimes but he's been great, his agent's been great in dealing with us," said Colbert. "It's everybody's goal here, them and us, to secure James Harrison long-term. So long as we don't lose sight of that fact we'll get a deal done that's satisfactory to both sides."
The team would also like to bring back one or both of their free agent quarterbacks, Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich.
"It would be great to have that kind of depth going into the season," said Colbert.
Colbert said that the lack of signing outside free agents is a testament to the depth that the team has on the roster now.
"Earlier, when we didn't have quite as deep a team, we had to add a few more guys than we've added in recent years," said Colbert. "I think it's best when you can keep your own, be selective when you add a guy when you have a need and the players available fits the need. Also, in recent years, less and less quality players have become available because teams are doing better job of keeping their own."