The Steelers have signed free agent punter Adam Podlesh to a one-year contract, according to the team’s PR man, Burt Lauten (via Twitter). Podlesh himself broke word of the agreement this afternoon, tweeting: “Very excited to be part of the storied franchise that is
#Steelernation, time to get to work in the black and gold!!”
Podlesh had been the Bears’ starting punter since the 2011 season, but had arguably his worst year as a pro in 2013 and was cut by Chicago in March. Last season, Podlesh averaged 40.6 yards per punt in 68 tries, the worst mark of his seven-year career, and his net average of 37.9 was the worst since his rookie season. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), the 30-year-old ranked dead last out of 41 qualified punters in 2013.
Although Podlesh is coming off a down year, he may still end up being an improvement over the Steelers’ 2013 options. Zoltan Mesko and Mat McBriar handled punting duties for the team last season, and both placed near the bottom of PFF’s rankings, recording negative grades. Mesko and McBriar are currently unrestricted free agents.
Podlesh is expected to compete with Brad Wing, who signed a futures contract with Pittsburgh in January, for a roster spot.