What we know so far

Here we are, two full days into free agency and there has been little news of note for the Steelers.<br><br> News about wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who many thought would be one of the hottest guys on the free agent market, has been very sparse as other wide receivers - Derrick Mason, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Jerry Porter - have signed new deals instead.

And linebacker Kendrell Bell, another player who was thought to be highly coveted, has visited only the New York Giants, who instead signed former Washington linebacker Antonio Pierce.

Reports now have the Minnesota Vikings interested in signing Burress to replace Randy Moss, who was traded to Oakland, but Burress has yet to make an official visit to any team. In fact, the Vikings hosted Travis Taylor Thursday instead, showing that they may be looking to replace Moss with a cheaper player and instead rely on third-year player Nate Burleson to be their No. 1 receiver.

The only news on the Steelers' front thus far has been the team's re-signing of linebacker Larry Foote ability to rework the contracts of James Farrior, Jerome Bettis, Jeff Hartings, Duce Staley and Clark Haggans.

Those moves have left the Steelers somewhere between $7 and $9 million under the league's $85.5 million salary cap. But where is that money going to be spent?

As usual, the Steelers aren't jumping into free agency feet first, instead letting the high rollers spend themselves out. Then, the Steelers will swoop in later to fill their needs at a more reasonable price.

If things continue to go slowly around the league with Burress, who may not get the big payday he expected, returning to Pittsburgh isn't beyond the realm of possibilities. The Steelers aren't going to overpay for Burress, but they would bring him back if the price isn't too steep. If not, they'll be content to move Antwaan Randle El into the starting lineup next season and draft a rookie to battle with Lee Mays for the third wide receiver position.

Randle El is capable of replacing Burress' production, but counting on Mays or a rookie to fill the No. 3 spot is something of a gamble. That's why the Steelers may still look at a veteran to battle for the third receiver position.

As reported here before, the Steelers are in negotiations with veteran cornerback Willie Williams and would like to bring him back to battle Ricardo Colclough and Ike Taylor for the starting spot opposite Deshea Townsend.

Steel City Insider Top Stories