Steelers linebacker wants stability along with his versatility

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Moats' versatility and position flexibility gives them something of an insurance policy in case of injury among the inside linebackers group.

There are situations in which the common fan can relate to an NFL player.

Imagine working for the same company for four years, and in that time, having three different bosses, and those three people worked for two different people. Changes in direction and in philosophy strengthen the core of any group, but too much change makes things unsettled at the bottom. Perhaps that's what the Bills planned to do - wipe the slate clean and start over completely. Either way, Moats didn't want to be a part of it anymore, and judging by the fact he signed a minimum one-year deal with the Steelers, the feeling may have been mutual.

Their loss is Pittsburgh's gain.

The Steelers will benefit from the "forged in fire" nature of his inside and outside linebacker versatility. In a way, the Steelers signed two players in one, bringing the smart, experienced and youthful Moats in to serve primarily as a back-up outside linebacker, leaving the door open for a move to the inside if needed. That kind of versatility not only cements his spot on the team, but it gives the team some pause for thought in assembling their depth chart for the 2014 season.

Linebacker Sean Spence's return to the field after missing his first two seasons with a major knee injury will be one of the biggest talking points this training camp. The Steelers don't have a ton of depth behind penciled in starter Vince Williams. Moats' ease in dealing with new coaching staffs, terminology and even positions will help him be the kind of universal defender the Steelers really needed to add.

He spoke to AM 970 ESPN Radio in Pittsburgh Thursday.

"I’ll definitely have to get adjusted to the terminology," Moats said on 970 ESPN in Pittsburgh. "But I feel like I’m a guy who dedicates himself to the game, dedicates himself mentally as well as physically."

Whomever ends up being the highlight of the Steelers' 2014 free agent signing class, the key, upon looking back, will be how each player was selected not necessarily for their full scope of work (very few guaranteed dollars were given out and only one, Mike Mitchell, received longer than a two-year contract), but each of them had one high-level trait that made them valuable to the Steelers. Moats' versatility and position flexibility gives them something of an insurance policy in case of injury among the inside linebackers group.

It leaves fans to wonder what might have happened if they had a veteran option in 2013, when Larry Foote was lost for the season.

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