When an NFL team from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania makes a late play on a free agent, that team typically comes from the Philadelphia area. With tackle Jake Long, the 11th-hour effort originated in Pittsburgh.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Steelers “made a play” to get Long, just before he agreed to terms with the Rams.
Of course, it’s hard to make a serious play without cap room. And the Steelers don’t have much of it. So while it’s nice that the Steelers showed some interest in improving an area of the team that has been in recent years its weakest, it’s impossible to close the deal without the ability to fit the contract under the annual per-team spending limit.
The fact that they jumped in to the Long chase could mean that the Steelers will “make a play” for tackles Andre Smith or Sebastian Vollmer, whose status was believed to be in limbo while the Long deal was worked out. Absent cap space, however, the only guy they’ll be able to get is Max Starks on another one-year minimum deal.