Which Steelers free agent signing will have the biggest impact?
There aren't many of them, but each year the Steelers bring in some second tier free agents to help fill in spots where they need depth. Which one, as listed by CBS Sportsline, will have the bigger impact this season?
TE Leonard Pope: The Steelers might not make big free-agent signings, but this year they sure made a BIG free-agent signing. Try 6-foot-8, 264 pounds big. Pope has made a career of going where new Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley has -- from Arizona to Kansas City to Pittsburgh. As might be expected, he's shown some good blocking skills in practice. He's also shown some hands. Pope looks like he'll be a nice No. 2 tight end and complement to Heath Miller.
LB Brandon Johnson: Signed during OTAs in June, Johnson is known as a special teams ace. He has the potential to be a captain of the special teams unit -- if he makes the team. Johnson is not thought of in terms of being much of a contributor at linebacker, though a spate of injuries on the outside has had him getting plenty of reps there this camp.
LT Max Starks: Starks' addition to this list comes with an asterisk since he played for the Steelers last season -- and the seven before that. But, like the previous offseason, Starks was allowed to become an unrestricted free agent partially due to an injury concern, no team signed him and Pittsburgh scooped him up late. Last season, it was a neck ailment that left him jobless into October. The Steelers signed him and immediately make him their starting left tackle. Starks tore an ACL in the playoff loss in Denver, and the Steelers waited until just before camp began to re-sign him. Starks has yet to be removed from the PUP list, and rookie Mike Adams appears to be asserting himself at left tackle.
LS Matt Katula: Yes, we're down to the backup long-snapper. That's just how little the Steelers use free agency. Katula is an eight-year veteran brought in to push long-time Pittsburgh long-snapperGreg Warren.