With their salary cap problems and the abundance of potential free agents, many wonder exactly who the Pittsburgh Steelers will keep and who they will allow to walk away.
Apparently priority No. 1 is to re-sign linebacker Larry Foote.
Foote said the Steelers and his agent have been talking about a new contract for the 2013 season.
“[The Steelers] and my agent have been talking back and forth. I guess it’s a money thing right now,” Foote said Tuesday morning on 93.7 The Fan (via Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette).
Foote will be 33 in June and was the Steelers’ second-leading tackler from his inside linebacker position in 2012, starting all 16 games. He also calls the signals for the defense.
If that report is true, Foote is the first of the Steelers free agents that they have begun negotiations with.
They have said this offseason that they would like to retain Foote. If they do, I would expect it to be a one-year deal for not too much money. He is coming off a three-year, $9.3 million deal and I wouldn’t expect him to make much more than $3-4 million for the 2013 season.
Signing Foote would provide some stability while the defense undergoes a bit of a remodel via the draft and free agency. Given the Steelers lack of depth at linebacker, it makes sense to bring Foote back since he is coming off of a productive season in which he had 113 tackles (second on team) along with forcing two fumbles and serving as one of the Steelers few team leaders. The 113 stops are the most Foote has had in a season during his 11-year career.
Bouchette also noted that Foote will either play for the Steelers or not at all this season.
“I’m just like a regular free agent,” said Foote, who could not be reached for additional comment. “I’ll know sometime in March what my future will be.”