Free agency an awful answer for WR opposite AB

Can we stop the insanity already?

Yes, I’m talking about all of the people across social media losing their minds over potential free agents the Steelers might have interest in.

The rumor mills are strong this time of season, speculating a number of players that could find their way to Pittsburgh. Among them, are players who already have ties to the city: Brandon Marshall and Terrelle Pryor.

Marshall was born in Pittsburgh, while Pryor grew up in nearby Jeannette. Since they were both raised locally, they could’ve been brought up as Steelers fans; it might (that word again) be a boyhood dream to play for their favorite team.

But that’s not going to happen, nor is any free agent pickup a particularly good idea for the Steelers.

Why you may ask?

First, it’s money. Some tend to think that players such as Marshall or Pryor might take a “hometown discount” to play for a contender, but I truly believe it’s the opposite. Marshall has already made his money, and turning 33 years old in a few weeks, I’m not sure what other incentive there is for Brandon to continue playing for a few more years. He could be a reliable veteran for several teams that would pay more than Pittsburgh could afford for him; those teams may not be contenders, much like Marshall’s last few teams (the Jets and Dolphins) but who’s to say the Steelers are a “lock” to win it all this year?

If I could make those type of predictions, I’d be a rich man.

Marshall is also at the age in which receivers are starting on their path of decline, as noted by Dale Lolley of the Observer-Reporter:

“There have been just 54 receivers in the history of the league who have produced a 1,000-yard season at 33. That number drops to 37 at age 34 and 17 at age 35. So the odds are against Marshall, who had 788 yards on 59 catches last season on 128 targets, rebounding in 2017.”

Consider too that the Steelers have an abundance of younger players on their roster who just gained one more year of more experience, combined with the big contract given to Antonio Brown, and it doesn’t appear there’s room, on the roster or under the cap, to fit Marshall into Pittsburgh’s plans.

Ditto for Pryor, who is having issues signing a deal with his current club, the Cleveland Browns… who happen to have the most amount of cap space in the entire league.

That should eliminate the Steelers from being all but an afterthought for the former Ohio State quarterback turned wide receiver; and that’s the two main keys between Marshall and Pyror’s free agency bids. On one hand, Marshall has made his money, and currently works with NFL Media and Showtime, on Inside The NFL. Like others, he could simply transition into retiring to the broadcast booth, if he feels he’s ready.

That differs from Pryor, who has fought through playing for his fifth team since 2011, into a potential life-altering payday Pittsburgh otherwise can’t afford to give him. Pryor is going to go somewhere he can make a living, and not necessarily somewhere to win.

It will be interesting to see what happens with these receivers, and others in the coming days as the legal tampering period begins, and free agency opens last this week.


Well, that didn’t take long! A day after publishing this article, it’s being reported that Brandon Marshall as agreed in principle to join the New York Giants.

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