After their most prolific week of free agency in club history, the Pittsburgh Steelers are done, at least for now or until something else strikes their fancy.
"We had the flurry of activity," said director of football operations Kevin Colbert. "We'll continue to monitor our own (free agents) as well as others, but really the focus is going to shift more heavily toward the college draft."
Not one Steelers free agent has signed elsewhere and they locked up all three of the priorities they publicly identified before the period began -- Clark, nose tackle Casey Hampton and kicker Jeff Reed. They added six to that list last week -- safety Will Allen, wide receivers Arnaz Battle, tackle Jonathan Scott along with Clark, Foote and Randle El.
The new contracts -- including Hampton's and the franchise tag on Reed -- total $63,259,000, including $14.1 million in signing bonuses.
It was the most aggressive week in free agency they've had since it began in 1993, especially in recent years. Last year, they signed only two low-level free agents late in the game, cornerback Keiwan Ratliff and wide receiver Shaun McDonald. In each of 2008 and 2007, they signed three, and in each of 2006 and 2005 they signed one.
"We never go into an off season with 'X' number of players we want to sign," Colbert said."However, there were players available that we felt could help us and we were able to make a deal."
Re-signing Foote, who asked for his release and got it last year so he could play in his hometown of Detroit, gives the Steelers more flexibility across their four linebackers. Lawrence Timmons replaced Foote as the starter inside and James Farrior has slowed down at 35. Foote can play either spot inside and if a starter goes down on the outside, Timmons can move to the outside.
The signing of Will Allen likely means that veteran safety Tyrone Carter will not be back. And adding two veteran receivers likely means the end for troubled 2008 second-round pick Limas Sweed, although he will go to training camp.
"We'll never close the door on any of our guys," Colbert said.
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