Mike Mitchell is noticing a clear trend.

There are several veteran free-agent safeties, including Mitchell, in the open market.

‘This is the most unique free-agency experience I’ve ever had’

Mitchell, who spent the last four of his nine NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, is scratching his head over what he sees as a disturbing trend.

“Right now, just being totally honest, this is the most unique free-agency experience I’ve ever had,” he told Alex Marvez and Brad Hopkins during a recent appearance on the SiriusXM Blitz. “The two times I was a free agent before, and went over (to visit another team) and it happened fairly quickly because we had the right fit with the right amount of compensation, so everything happened fairly quickly. Whereas now, obviously, you see that there’s, whatever reason, it’s really hard to put a finger on why the reason is. But if you look at the safety market in particular this free agency (period), it’s been extremely slow.

‘Everyone’s kind of just staying the course’

“I can’t really put a finger on why that is, but guys, not just myself, there’s a lot of great free-agent safeties out there … Tyvon Branch is one of my best friends, Darius Butler is still out there, Kenny Vaccaro, Eric Reid, other guys … Tre Boston, who I think had a tremendous year last year. Just to name a few guys that are still out there. Everyone’s kind of just staying the course.”

Mitchell said he and his fellow free-agent safeties “are just being as patient as possible.” He compares it to a recent free-agent period when running backs weren’t getting much play.

‘I think there’s something to be said about the veteran talent that’s out there’

“Our sport isn’t like basketball, it isn’t like baseball where contracts are guaranteed, so definitely the teams are taking advantage of the leverage that they have and they don’t have to sign guys,” Michell said. “They can obviously go out and get cheaper, younger players, I guess, if that’s what they want to do. I think there’s something to be said about the veteran talent that’s out there, still a lot of guys that have played this game awhile and just done it at a high level for a long time, so we’ll just see how the rest of the summer plays out.”

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