Chances are if you drive around the community in which you these days and especially on weekends, you’ll see any number or garage or yard sales underway. This is a current rite of Spring and certainly of Summer and Fall as well. For the National Football League, this is also a time of finding bargains in free agency and perhaps even aspiring to find a hidden treasure or two.
Over are the early days and weeks of free agency where all of the top free agents are wined and dined over just a few days by teams hoping to gain their services. While some resign with the old teams, many sign with new ones for longer contracts and much more money.
While the Pittsburgh Steelers have never been ‘active participants’ in the early moments of free agency each year, they certainly have proven to be excellent shoppers when it comes to finding key pieces for the team at reasonable prices.
Average fans probably went “who?” when the saw the recent visitors to the South side facility earlier this week. Journeyman kicker Dave Rayner was in Pittsburgh this week as was linebacker Matt Roth and fellow linebacker Brandon Johnson who most recently played in Cincinnati.
Rayner seemed obvious for a team that could certainly use some competition for Shaun Suisham. Whether or not he is in training camp remains to be seen but he or any other kicker coming in was as obvious as the sun is shiny.
Roth has played Miami,Cleveland and Jacksonville and is a ‘tweener’ type linebacker who can play some outside or put his hand on the ground and play defensive end. Johnson is clearly an inside linebacker who has good size, but he would clearly be a back up in nearly every possible scenario.
The point is, that this is the time of year where teams like the Steelers start kicking the tires on guys like this. Although they may not be household names or demand huge contracts, they can prove to be important role players, provide depth and sometimes star on special teams.
If you find yourself bargain shopping this weekend you aren’t alone. NFL teams do it too and no one does it better than the Steelers. After all who doesn’t love finding a bargain at a yard sale?