Dec 30, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall (34) runs the ball between Cleveland Browns linebacker Craig Robertson (53) and defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard (97) during the first half of the game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Predicting the fate of the Pittsburgh Steelers' Free Agents

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With the NFL Playoffs beginning and the Pittsburgh Steelers sitting at home watching, the only thing to look forward to about the black-and-gold is the upcoming free agency period.

The Steelers have a lot of free agents to make decisions on. As everyone knows, they won’t be a major player in free agency and have serious salary cap issues, but here is how I feel they will handle their current free agents.

Unrestricted:

Will Allen: Allen had a nice season as a reserve in the Steelers’ secondary. If the Steelers don’t look to add depth through the draft, I expect them to re-sign Allen as he is a useful piece. Verdict: Re-Signed

Dec 2, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress (80) prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M

Charlie Batch: The Steelers need to address the backup quarterback and Batch is a guy that offers very little value. If he doesn’t retire, he shouldn’t be brought back. Verdict: Let Go

Plaxico Burress: With the Steelers yearly red zone problems, Burress could become a weapon. He should be offered a one-year deal. Verdict: Re-Signed

Larry Foote: Foote is coming off a good season and has made his case for a new contract. However it has to be a team-friendly deal and can’t be a long-term deal. If Foote would be willing to re-sign for two years at a decent price then he should be brought back. If it takes more than that then they have to let him walk. Verdict: Re-Signed

Ramon Foster: Foster did a decent job this season and would be a guy that would add depth next season. He won’t start because the guards will be Willie Colon and David DeCastro, but would be a nice  depth piece because he has proven that he can play multiple positions. I would like to bring Foster back, but he can probably find a deal with another organization that will offer him more playing time. Verdict: Let Go

Casey Hampton: This could be the easiest call of all. Hampton said that he wants to play two more years. The Steelers would be foolish to allow him to do so in Pittsburgh. Hampton wasn’t productive and looks like he doesn’t have much left in the tank. There is no reason to sink any more money into Hampton. Verdict: Let Go

Brandon Johnson: He was signed to add depth, but didn’t really do much this season. Verdict: Let Go

Byron Leftwich: I can see the Steelers bringing in a new quarterback. I can’t see them bringing in two. Leftwich will be back on a one-year deal. Verdict: Re-Signed

Doug Legursky: The Marshall product is very valuable on the Steelers’ offensive line. He can be called upon  to do almost anything and usually does so with good results. I can see Legursky being offered a multi-year deal. Verdict: Re-Signed

Justin King: No value here to be retained. Verdict: Let Go

Keenan Lewis: The Steelers will want to re-sign Lewis and he wants to stay. But there are only a few good young corners on the market and Lewis will likely be offered more money than the Steelers will be able to pay him.  Verdict: Let Go

Rashard Mendenhall: The former first-round pick had a disastrous 2012 and between injuries and suspensions, only carried the ball 50 times all season. Although I still think that Mendenhall is the most  talented back on the  Steelers’ roster, the organization will likely look elsewhere to find their back of the future. Verdict: Let Go

Ryan Mundy: Mundy was awful and ended up losing time to Allen. If Allen is re-signed, Mundy won’t be. Verdict: Let Go

Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Mike Wallace (17) prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Leonard Pope: Due to Heath Miller’s unknown status to start next season, it may make sense to bring Pope back on a one-year deal. Verdict: Re-Signed

Max Starks: Starks has been signing one-year deals, but that is likely to come to an end. With Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert penciled in at the tackle spots next year, there is no room for Starks. He may find a spot with another team or simply retire. Verdict: Let Go

Mike Wallace: I feel that allowing Wallace would be a mistake. He is still the best speed threat in the game today and is  a big part of the Steelers’ offense. However someone is going to throw Wallace huge money- and it won’t be the Steelers. Verdict: Let Go

Greg Warren: One of the best long-snappers in the game. Warren should be brought back. Verdict: Re-Signed

Restricted: 

Jonathan Dwyer, Steve McLendon, Isaac Redman, Stevenson Sylvester, and Emmanuel Sanders: All will sign their RFA tenders.

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Tags: Mike Wallace NFL Free Agency Pittsburgh Steelers Plaxico Burress Rashard Mendenhall

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