Pittsburgh Steelers: Nolan Carroll

PITTSBURGH -- Free agency started Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET with a flurry of signings and the Steelers, as they normally do at the start of the league's new year, staying on the sidelines.

That does not mean the Steelers are sitting out free agency -- just the first frenzied part of it.

The Steelers have inquired about a handful of free agents, and they are one of two teams -- the Lions are the other one -- interested in Dolphins safety Chris Clemons, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Clemons, 28, has played all five of his NFL seasons in Miami, and in 2013 the 6-1, 214-pounder recorded 92 tackles and intercepted a pass while breaking up eight others.

Clemons saved the Dolphins' 34-28 win over the Steelers last December when he got just enough of a push on Antonio Brown to force him to step on the sidelines and negate a miracle touchdown on the final play of the game.

The Steelers have a need at safety even with Troy Polamalu returning next season, and they may not add to the position solely through the draft.

They are also thin at cornerback and inquired about at least three of them during the period in which teams were allowed to talk to agents of prospective free agents.

Tennessee's Alterraun Verner will probably be too pricey for the Steelers, making Carolina's Captain Munnerlyn and Miami's Nolan Carroll more realistic targets for Pittsburgh.

Carroll flew to Buffalo on Tuesday, and there is a possibility that he visits the Steelers, though nothing has been scheduled yet, a source told ESPN.com.
PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers are targeting cornerbacks in free agency, having reached out to representatives for at least three of them during the period that teams and agents of prospective free agents are allowed to talk but not consummate any deals.

The Steelers have inquired about Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner, Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn and Miami’s Nolan Carroll, according to multiple sources, and it looks like they are serious about replenishing one of the thinnest positions on their roster through free agency as well as the draft.

Pittsburgh has only three cornerbacks on the roster with meaningful NFL experience. And Ike Taylor’s future is uncertain with the 11th-year veteran scheduled to make $7 million in base salary in 2014.

Verner is one of the top cornerbacks in the free-agent class, and the fourth-year veteran is set to cash in after intercepting five passes and making the Pro Bowl last season. Verner, who has ties to Steelers assistant coaches Mike Munchak and Carnell Lake, will probably be too pricey for the Steelers, who are less than $4 million under the cap but can create more room by releasing Taylor.

Munnerlyn and Carroll may be the more realistic options for the Steelers from an economic standpoint, as neither is among the cornerbacks who will command top dollar on the open market.

The 5-foot-8, 195-pound Munnerlyn, who turns 26 next month, recorded 73 tackles and three sacks while also intercepting two passes last season for Carolina. The 6-1, 205-pound Carroll recorded 47 tackles and intercepted three passes last season for the Dolphins, and he is young, having turned 26 in January.

The Steelers are familiar with Carroll having hosted him for a pre-draft visit in 2010. The Dolphins picked Carroll in the fifth round that year while Munnerlyn was a seventh-round pick by the Panthers in 2009.

The free-agent signing period starts Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, and that is when teams are also allowed to host free agents for visits.