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5 Free Agents Still on the Table for Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers aren't done shopping yet.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers probably aren't done with their offseason moves just yet.

The Steelers freed up roughly $5.75 million in salary cap space by releasing guard David DeCastro. They then signed Trai Turner for $3 million, which leaves them somewhere around $12.7 million in available funds.

Their only rookie left to sign if Kendrick Green, and after that, it's open range on how the team looks to handle their extra cap space.

Not bad for a team who looked to be a sinking ship back in March. But even if the Steelers climbed themselves out of the money whole, they lost key pieces to the puzzle, and more importantly, some quality depth.

Replacing Mike Hilton and Bud Dupree will happen in-house, but finding a viable backup at any position could come from the open market. These five names sit atop their list of potential free agents targets in July.

Justin Houston, Edge Rusher

This is a signing that would blow the roof off of the city of Pittsburgh. Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt on the outside with Houston coming off the bench and Cassius Marsh/Quincy Roche supplying the fourth-man.

The 31-year-old is coming off eight and eleven sack seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, and still seems to have plenty left in the tank. After eight years in Kansas City, Houston left and continued to prove he's got it. He'll probably do the same again wherever he lands this summer.

The Steelers could use depth behind Watt and Highsmith. It's nothing against Marsh or the potential the coaches see in him, but going into the season with a question mark as maybe the most important backup job on the defense is too risky.

Melvin Ingram, Edge Rusher

Ingram is basically the same as Houston with some injury concerns. The long-time Los Angeles Chargers' star hit the open market after playing just seven games last season. Now 32-years-old, there's some worry about his durability.

That could be solved with a smaller role in Pittsburgh's defense. He could also be the cheaper option between himself and Houston. Hopefully, with the same capability.

Ingram doesn't have the career productivity that Houston has, but he's still a prominent backup in this league.

Brian Poole, Slot Corner

While everyone talks about Richard Sherman and Steven Nelson, Poole makes the most sense for the Steelers when evaluating the cornerback market.

Poole is a proven slot corner who plays the same role Hilton did. He'd step right into the starting nickelback job, leaving less worry that Antoine Brooks Jr., Arthur Maulet or an undrafted rookie needs to fill the job.

He's coming off shoulder surgery, but he's only 28-years-old and has started 38 NFL games in five years with the Jets and Atlanta Falcons. Not a bad replacement for Hilton.

Malik Hooker, Safety

The potential Hooker signing seems to be fading in Pittsburgh. Why? Because Trae Norwood is played decently well during minicamp.

The Steelers could wait on signing a safety until they see what Norwood and the rest of their younger options have for them. The team also signed Miles Killebrew during the offseason, and while he's listed as a linebacker, spent his time working at safety in the spring.

Still, Hooker is on the table. Don't rule out the hometown defender with plenty left in the tank. The Steelers don't know what the future of Edmunds holds, and if either Edmunds or Minkah Fitzpatrick went down this season, putting in a seventh-round pick isn't the best solution.

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Steven Nelson, Cornerback

You thought Nelson wasn't making the list, didn't you?

Look, it wasn't a pretty ending for Nelson in Pittsburgh, but the whole "there are interested teams" thing is getting pretty unbelievable. Nelson is a quality cornerback who knows the system and wouldn't mind finding a home anywhere at this point.

Cam Sutton could start on the outside and bounce inside at dimebacker when needed. Nelson and James Pierre would operate behind Sutton and Joe Haden, and the Steelers would use their ragtag team of misfits at nickel.

Pretty good setup for a team running around trying to piece together their cornerback situation after finally making the most of it in 2020.

Don't rule out a return for Nelson. 

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

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