Former NFL GM: Steelers Headline 3 Favorite Free Agent Signings So Far

Mitch Trubisky

Getty Mitch Trubisky has agreed to a two-year, $14.2 million deal with the Steelers.

Randy Mueller, the 2000 NFL Executive of the Year, brings over 30 years of experience in the football business, including stints as the general manager of Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins. With Heavy, Mueller breaks down the NFL from a front office perspective. You can follow Randy on Twitter @RandyMueller_

I love these three early free agent signings and here is why.

One of the key components to having success in the NFL free agent window is the skill set of valuing players. That’s not to get confused with evaluating. The two are not independent of each other, but meshing skill sets and numbers is the key to team building and one of the toughest things young GMs in the business struggle with. 

Evaluating is what we all can do. In its simplest form, it’s just writing what you see. But that information is just half the battle.

An example, your top-rated WR on the street, might not carry the value of a number one receiver on your roster, he just happens to be your highest-rated guy. The key in evaluating is to identify something that is not seen by others and then acquire that player for a value that makes sense. 

It’s no surprise to me that two of my top three value agreements in the NFL’s legal tampering window came out of Pittsburgh, where the top decision-maker is a seasoned evaluator who understands that the price you pay is just as important as the sequence you use to prioritize them.

QB Mitch Trubisky to the Steelers

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert is retiring later this spring, but some of his latest moves have the makings of a free agent class that just might reposition the Steelers in the AFC North in a positive way after he exits. 

Nobody here is saying that MVP Mitch is on par with Joe Burrow, but he just might be the right fit in Pittsburgh and at the right price — two years at $7 million annually with a chance to double that with incentives — for a team that has a solid defense already. Trubisky’s time with the Chicago Bears can be explained by most football people as an organizational failure.

His athletic skill set has not been matched with a scheme that suits him to this point. His time with the Buffalo Bills backing up Josh Allen was the best thing to ever happen to him. He brings ideas, perspective and a heightened football IQ to the Steelers.

I, frankly, am shocked that the price the Steelers had to pay was so cheap.

WR Cedrick Wilson to the Dolphins

I love this signing for its value: Three years for $22 million for the former Dallas Cowboys receiver. It’s a reasonable number for a player who was being under-utilized in Dallas. There are reasons for this, I get it, but his skills are ascending.

The 26-year-old has excellent body control, runs really good routes and gets in and out of breaks with a subtle ability to separate versus tight coverage. But more than anything, he really stands out as a slot receiver with a feel for finding soft spots in zone coverage.

His hands and ability to catch outside his frame allow him to play bigger than his 6-foot-2, 195-pound measurables would suggest.

Fantasy owners should not lose track of Wilson, either.

OL James Daniels to the Steelers

Daniels, whom I thought was the Bears’ best offensive lineman, played guard in 2021 for a Chicago frontline that underachieved in every way. Fast forward to 2022, I think he’s already the best O-lineman on the Steelers’ roster without playing a single snap.

His skill set coming out of college was best suited at center, where he played at Iowa. It’s unclear where the 24-year-old will play in Pittsburgh but his strengths are many. Most of all, a high football IQ, directing protections and passing tricks, along with a set of hands that are some of the strongest in the NFL. He plays with leverage at the point of attack because he can bend and engage his lower body.

His new deal, as reported by NFL Network, is for three years and has a total value of $26.5 million. That becomes an even better value if he shifts back to center in 2022.

The Steelers are the leaders in the clubhouse early on in this wild west time of year in the NFL. With legal tampering — possibly the best label of all time — behind us and the 2022-23 league year officially underway as of March 16, it’s a fun time for team builders.

All fans should hope they have Colbert’s acumen for multi-tasking.

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