´ Steel Curtain Rising: Steelers Resign Essex and (the other) LB Harrison

Which were the most important reasons the Steelers lost to the Ravens (pick all that apply)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Steelers Resign Essex and (the other) LB Harrison

The Steelers continue to pay homage to the old adage “dance with the ones the brung you.” The defending Super Bowl Champions announced this week that they had resigned two more of their own players.

They inked reserve tackle/guard Trai Essex to a two year two million dollar contract, and they agreed to terms with reserve veteran Fernando Bryant for one more year.

This comes on the heels of their decision to resign a linebacker named Harrison. No, they are still negotiating with James Harrison, but the have agreed to terms with back up linebacker Arnold Harrison, who spent 2008 on injured reserve.

The Ones that Got Away

The Steelers apparently had interest in signing the only two free agents that they have entertained at their South Side complex. Last week they brought in both Joey Galloway and Chris Carr for workouts, and tendered offers to both of them.

Alas, neither negotiation was successful as Chris Carr signed with the AFC North Division Rival Baltimore Ravens and Galloway signed with Conference Rival New England Patriots.

Analysis of the Moves

As Steel Curtain Rising predicted last month, Trai Essex did not attract a lot of interest in the free agent market, which meant that the Steelers will able to bring him back for a very modestly valued contract.

Trai Essex is never going to be the kind of player the Steelers thought they were getting when the picked him in the third round of the 2005 draft. Nonetheless, Essex has serviceable skills, can play both guard and tackle, and is a solid backup on an offensive line that begs for depth.

Bryant’s resigning is a little of a surprise. He joined the team when Desha Townsend and Bryant McFadden were injured in mid-November, and only played two games. He does give the team a veteran presence, but he did not even suit up since November 20th.

Bryant certainly did not get much if any guaranteed money, and will certainly find himself fighting for a roster spot in Labrobe.

Harrison’s signing is perhaps also a slight surprise. Harrison joined the team in 2005 as an undrafted rookie free agent. He was cut in training camp but spent the year on the team’s practice squad. He returned in 2006 and even started two games in place of injured Joey Porter and was having a strong year on special teams until injuring his knee against Oakland.

He continued to play and make contributions throughout 2007 as a special teams player and reserve linebacker. He was injured in training camp during 2008, and did not play during the regular season. He's got a good track record on special teams, and could develop into an interesting back up at linebacker.

Thanks for visiting. What do you think about the off season? Leave a comment, vote in our polls, check out our Steelers 2009 Free Agent Focus, or simply browse the rest of Steel Curtain Rising.

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