Signings of Battle, Randle El could spell trouble for Sweed

Posted March 11, 2010 @ 2:28 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

The Steelers strengthened their WR depth in the early stages of free agency, signing 49ers WR Arnaz Battle and ex-Redskins WR Antwaan Randle El on March 8. The signings call into question where, or whether, third-year WR Limas Sweed, who ended last season on the reserve/non-football illness list, fits on the depth chart. Sweed, who was activated from the non-football illness list in February, has disappointed in two NFL seasons, and he played little in '09, catching just one pass in nine games. Just 25, Sweed no longer has a clear role with the Steelers, as second-year WR Mike Wallace has become the deep threat the Steelers hoped Sweed would become. Randle El and Battle can ably fill multiple roles and are far more accomplished than Sweed, making the young wideout's quest to become a regular contributor all the more difficult. Randle El, who played with Washington from 2006-09 after beginning his career with Pittsburgh, can play the slot on offense and could also compete to return punts. Battle, like Randle El, will be a reserve, and the former 49er wideout's primary value could come on the Steelers' punt- and kickoff-coverage teams. Battle also has two seasons of 50 catches or more to his credit.


For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit