The Steelers made a rare foray into free agency this week, signing safety Mike Mitchell away from the Carolina Panthers to the tune of 5 years, $25 million. Mitchell was described as "feisty" and "hard-hitting" by Panthers blog Cat Scratch Reader (sweet blog name) and will slot in next to Troy Polamalu next year. I was under the assumption that you don't trade up for Shamarko Thomas to have him ride the bench, but hey, what do I know?
The Steelers haven't signed a tough, starting-caliber, 26-year-old free safety since they brought in Ryan Clark eight years ago. Huh. Funny that.
Perhaps Shamarko Thomas is indeed being groomed to be Polamalu's replacement, not his partner. Surely, we'll get a chance to see all of them over the course of 2014.
In other news, the Steelers strengthened their safety depth last week with the return of veteran Will Allen, and this week re-signed offensive lineman of questionable on-field integrity, Cody Wallace and long-snapper Greg Warren because Greg Warren is omnipresent.