Even with the signing of James Harrison, it would probably be safe to say that the number one need for the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason will probably still be an edge rusher. Almost sure to not be invited back would be Jarvis Jones, as they pull the plug on that experiment. Bud Dupree is entrenched as a starter, but guys like Anthony Chickillo and Arthur Moats are not much more than depth-players. I would bet that a pass rusher is a high priority in the draft, but could also be on the free agency wish list.
A majority of the top pass rushers have either re-signed with their teams like Harrison, Cleveland's Jamie Collins and Mario Addison of Carolina. Franchise tags also have been placed on QB agitators such as Arizona's Chandler Jones, Melvin Ingram of San Diego and the digitally-challenged Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants.
With age on Deebo, you would think that the team would want to go younger at the position in free agency. There isn't a whole lot of true talent under thirty out there. Buffalo's Lorenzo Alexander had a great 2016 at age 33, Charles Johnson will be 31 in July and had injury concerns last year, while Erik Walden (32 in August) notched double-digit sacks last year for the first time (like Alexander) in his career.
Past greats such as Karlos Dansby (36), DeMarcus Ware (35), Dwight Freeney (37) and Julius Peppers (37) are all considered senior citizens in the NFL and have battled injuries recently.
Here are the top five remaining edge rushers and whether or not they may be a fit in Pittsburgh.
Nick Perry - Green Bay
Perry, with Clay Matthews injured, became the best edge-man on the Pack with 11 sacks in 2016. The team's first rounder in 2012 finally excelled in his prove-it year and would be a solid addition. But I see his price tag high and him returning to a full-pursed Packers.
Jabaal Sheard - New England
This is the guy I have always wanted to see don the black and gold. At 28, the former Pitt star has averaged six sacks per season since his debut with Cleveland in 2011. Despite only five sacks in an inconsistent 2016, Sheard had a crucial sack to melt Matty Ice and the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. If the price is right, he would be a nice investment for a team that's prime for a serious run.
John Simon - Houston
Simon had 8 1/2 sacks the past two years and was a solid third edge rusher for the league's top defense in 2016. Simon only had 3 1/2 sacks last year, but a chest injury hampered him and caused him to miss half of the season.
Datone Jones - Green Bay
Another Green Bay first rounder, Jones didn't have as solid of a year like his 2015 season. With the team probably cutting ties with another 2013 first-rounder named Jones, I wouldn't see this as a wise investment.
Jelani Jenkins - Miami
To say the Jenkins struggled mightily in 2016 would be an understatement. He was downright nonexistent in the nine games that he played. In fairness, his knee injury in Week 1 was a key factor in his off year. With only 3 1/2 sacks over good s career, he wouldn't be much of an upgrade over Jarvis Jones.
Jarvis Jones - Pittsburgh
Paul Kruger - New Orleans
Josh Bynes - Detroit
Michael Morgan - Seattle
Barkevious Mingo - New England
Chris Long - New England
Chad Greenaway - Minnesota
Jacques Smith - RFA - Tampa Bay
Mario Williams - Miami
Trent Cole - Indianapolis
Karl Klug - Tennessee