Originally written on Bleed Black & Gold  |  Last updated 3/9/12

Free Agency starts next Tuesday March 13th.  The Steelers are strapped tight with cash.  After signing all of their restricted free agents and working towards a deal with Mike Wallace the Steelers will not have much to spend.  They will not be big players in free agency.  There are some guys out there who could come cheap and help this team out in 2012.  They could also fill some much needed holes for this team.  Here are four guys who the Steelers should be able to afford and can fill holes left by others and one guy the Steelers could use to solidify things on the defensive side of the ball.

Free Agents:

  • Abrayo Franklin, NT- Franklin would be a great fit for the Steelers defense.  He could sign a short term deal and make it so the Steelers could let Casey Hampton ride off into the sunset.  Franklin is not as good as Hampton was but is a good stop gap for a year or two.  The Steelers could draft a replacement and get prepared for the future.  The could draft Josh Chapman out of Alabama in the third or fourth round and let him heal from his injury and take over in 2013.  Franklin would be a top priority for me if I was the Steelers.  If he was signed and we released Hampton that would give us almost another $6 million in cap space on top of what we have.  It is like killing two birds with one stone.  We get cap space and Ziggy Hood stays at Defensive End.
  • Eric Wright, CB- Wright has been up and down in his career but had his best year last season with the Lions.  He had a career high 4 interceptions.  He could be a great number 2 corner for the Steelers.  I do like the Steelers young corners though and this is not as much of a priority.  Wright could fit well in the Steelers defense and help us get better next season.  He should come relatively cheap as he has not been that consistent during his career.
  • Keyaron Fox, LB- Fox has already been a Steeler and knows the system.  He is also a beast on special teams.  With the loss of Farrior the Steelers are thin at ILB.  Fox could come in for cheap and be the number 4 ILB on the team.  If the Steelers were to draft Dont’a Hightower, Fox could also make it so we could release Larry Foote and save another $3 million in cap space.
  • Tracy Porter, CB- Porter falls in the same boat as Wright.  We may not really need him but he would be an awesome number 2 corner.  If not for injury which may make teams shy away from him he would command much more money.  He is a huge upgrade over what we have.  He has to prove he can stay on the field and may have to sign an incentive laden contract.  Which could play right into what the Steelers need.  A small salary this year and pay him out next year off of the bonuses he incurred this season.
  • Brandon Carr, CB- Carr is my guy we can not afford.  I would love to see him across from Ike Taylor though.  We would have a legit cornerback tandem for the first time since the Rod Woodson days.  Carr is going to get paid though and it will not be by the Steelers.  We could never afford him.  He would have to take a completely back loaded deal.  Carr will want to be paid now and he will not be a Steeler.

I do not expect to see much movement at all out of the Steelers this offseason.  If we were to bring in Franklin and Fox and still be able to sign Wallace long term that would be a great offseason for the Steelers.  They would have filled holes and retained their best deep threat.  They then can work towards the future in the draft and build the same way they always have.

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