Louis Delmas visits Steelers

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers are not expected to be major players in free agency.

But they are taking an early look at one of the top safeties on the open market.

Former Detroit Lions free safety Louis Delmas visited the Steelers’ practice facility on Monday, a source confirmed to ESPN.com, and the fifth-year veteran is free to sign with any team since he was released last week.

The Lions parted ways with Delmas, 26, after he started all 16 games last season and intercepted three passes while recording a pair of sacks. Detroit released Delmas and wide receiver Nate Burleson last Thursday in moves that created flexibility under the salary cap.

Delmas, known as a big hitter, had signed a two-year, $9.5 million contract prior to last season.

The biggest question the Steelers probably have with Delmas is how he checks out medically. The 2009 second-round draft pick has battled knee problems, and health issues last season precluded Delmas from practicing much during the season.

The Steelers need to get younger in the secondary, and they are not likely to re-sign 12th-year veteran Ryan Clark, who has started the last eight seasons at free safety.

The Steelers took Shamarko Thomas in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft but he projects as a strong safety and is likely the eventual successor to eight-time Pro Bowler Troy Polamalu.

Players who have been released are free to sign with a new team at any time. Players who will be unrestricted free agents at the start of the NFL’s new year have to wait until March 11 to sign with a new team.