There is no official start date for the NFL's silly season, but it usually begins a few weeks before free agency and ends with the last pick in April's draft. Which means that we're smack dab in the middle of the obfuscation, smoke screens and misdirection when it comes to rumors, speculation and, ultimately, reality.
With that in mind, consider what we're about to tell you with a grain of salt.
After some uncertainty in recent days about whether Steelers restricted free-agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders had signed an offer sheet with the Patriots, Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert provided some clarity on Sunday.
GM Kevin Colbert says Steelers haven't gotten an offer sheet from NE for Sanders. That means Sanders hasn't signed anything.— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) March 17, 2013
That doesn't mean the Pats won't make a play for Sanders. The team released Brandon Lloyd on Saturday, and Sanders reminds us of a young Deion Branch. If Sanders does leave, the Steelers will receive the Pats' third-round pick in April's draft.
But wide receiver isn't the only issue facing a Pittsburgh team that will look very different in 2013. In addition to losing wideout Mike Wallace to the Dolphins, former starters running back Rashard Mendenhall and cornerback Keenan Lewis have signed to play in Arizona and New Orleans, respectively. And outside linebacker James Harrison, one of the team's best players in recent years, was released this month and remains a free agent.
Pittsburgh signed cornerback William Gay to add depth and, according to ESPN's Adam Scehfter and The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson, is interested in former Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw and former Broncos outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil. Wilson previously reported that the Ravens, who lost outside linebacker Paul Kruger to the Browns, also want to kick the tires on Dumervil.
This could be nothing or something more than that. Either way, the Steelers have needs at both positions, although both Bradshaw and Dumervil come with their own sets of concerns. The former has battled injuries; the latter could be too expensive.
And maybe that's why coach Mike Tomlin praised Jason Worlids on Sunday. The former second-round pick has served primarily in a backup role behind Harrison and LaMarr Woodley, but is currently penciled in as a starter.
" I believe [Worlids] is chomping at the bit to show people what he can do," Tomlin said via Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest. "Change provides opportunities for people to ascend."