Steelers will let many of their free agents test open market

INDIANAPOLIS -- All is quiet on the Pittsburgh Steelers front when it comes to in-house free agents. The sense I get is the Steelers don't feel the need to chase their guys. They usually sign their top players before getting to this point. With 12 days before the open market hits, most of the nearly 20 free agents will hit the new league year on March 9 as free agents.

The Steelers still have plenty of time to get a few deals done. Finalizing something with William Gay now might make some sense. But generally, don't expect a lot of action in the next week.

Nonetheless, here are a few thoughts after asking around in Indianapolis.

  • The team is likely moving on from safety Will Allen, all but ensuring the team needs a new starting safety in 2016 alongside Mike Mitchell. Considering Allen was a utility defensive back for much of his career, he filled the stat sheet as a starter for Pittsburgh -- 80 tackles, four sacks, eight passes defended. But Allen is 33, and this is a chance to upgrade that spot.

  • The plan very well could be to bring back one of two key offensive linemen -- tackle Kelvin Beachum and guard Ramon Foster -- but probably not both unless the price is very team-friendly. The Steelers are intrigued by what Alejandro Villanueva could do with a full season, and the team would hold his rights for minimal money over the next two years. Though they like Beachum, Villanueva makes more financial sense. I doubt they'd throw a huge number his way. They already offered him a deal in August, but sides couldn't agree. The Steelers were scheduled to meet with Beachum's rep at the combine this week.

  • The Steelers met with defensive tackle Steve McLendon's reps in Indianapolis. Dan McCullers didn't emerge in his second season, so save a high draft pick or free agent signing, McLendon could return to play tackle for Pittsburgh.