Four college prospects paid visits to the Steelers the past week: WR Mike Thomas of Arizona, who also returns kicks and punts; OT Phil Loadholt of Oklahoma; Central Florida CB Joe Burnett, who also returns, and DT Ra'Shon Harris of Oregon.
TEAM NEEDS/OFFSEASON STRATEGY
The Steelers lost three free agents since free agency began - wide receiver Nate Washington, cornerback Bryant McFadden and safety Anthony Smith. They have signed no free agents other than their own. They signed eight free agents in one form or another including four offensive linemen: Max Starks, Chris Kemoeatu, Willie Colon and Trai Essex. They also kept tight end/fullback Sean McHugh, cornerback Fernando Bryant and linebackers Andre Frazier and Arnold Harrison. They'd like to ultimately sign a free agent wide receiver to compete with Limas Sweed for the No. 3 spot and add depth.
1. Offensive Linemen: While they kept Starks, Kemoeatu and tendered Colon, they have little depth and no one to push their starters. They need a young tackle and/or guard.
2. Defensive Linemen: They have good players, better than most, but they're also getting old. Five of their top six defensive linemen are over 30.
3. Wide receivers: Losing UFA Nate Washington to the Titans means they have two experienced players at the position, Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward, who turns 33 in March. Limas Sweed, who played little as a rookie, moves up to No. 3.
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: OT Max Starks: Tendered at $8.451M; signed tender Feb. 23.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--QB Charlie Batch wants to return as Ben Roethlisberger's backup. The team wants him back.
--P Mitch Berger punted poorly and will not receive an offer because Daniel Sepulveda will return from injury.
--LB Keyaron Fox was a valuable special teams player they would like to re-sign.
--QB Byron Leftwich did a nice job and is now ready to compete somewhere else to start.
--DE Orpheus Roye completed his 13th season by mainly being inactive on game day and he likely will not be re-signed.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered)
--TE Jon Dekker (not tendered as ERFA) was on injured reserve.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
--G Jeremy Parquet was a backup who played little.
--CB Fernando Bryant: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--OT Willie Colon: RFA; $2.198M/1 yr.
--FB Carey Davis: ERFA; terms unknown.
--OT Trai Essex: UFA; $1.94M/2 yrs, $500,000 SB.
--LB Andre Frazier: UFA; $1.375M/2 yrs, $125,000 SB; 2009 cap: $687,500.
--LB Arnold Harrison: Not tendered as RFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--OG Chris Kemoeatu: UFA; $20M/5 yrs, $3.885M SB/$6M guaranteed.
--CB Anthony Madison: RFA; $1.01M/1 yr.
--TE/FB Sean McHugh; RFA; (tendered at $1.01M with seventh-round pick as compensation); $2.57M/3 yrs, $390,000 SB.
--OT Max Starks: FFA; $8.451M/1 yr.
--RB Stefan Logan: FA CFL; terms unknown.
--WR Brandon Williams: FA; terms unknown.
--LB Mike Humpal (released/failed physical).
--CB Bryant McFadden: UFA Cardinals; $10M/2 yrs, $1M RB/$5M guaranteed.
--OG Kendall Simmons (released/failed physical).
--S Anthony Smith: Not tendered as RFA
--OT Marvel Smith: UFA 49ers; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--WR Nate Washington: UFA Titans; terms unknown.