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Steelers 2019 Free Agent Market Watch: Outside Linebackers

BTSC examines available free agents at each position. This time it’s the Outside Linebackers and whether they’d be a possibility for Pittsburgh.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense needs to upgrade if the team is to return as a serious threat to the Patriots in the AFC. Inside Linebacker is a definite concern, but with Bud Dupree considered by some as a disappointment and a possible departure of FA Anthony Chickillo ...Pittsburgh can’t live on T.J. Watt and his 12 sacks alone. So they may address the edges as well. Here are OLBs available in free agency and whether or not they would be considered a Steeler option.

Jadeveon Clowney - Houston Texans

This guy would be awesome in the Steel City, but the 26-year old (Feb. 14) could set the market in a defense-heavy offseason of free agency. Devastating against the run and as a pass rusher, the 2014 No. 1 overall pick had nine sacks, three fumble recoveries and a career-high 21 quarterback hits. Pairing him with another Watt could help the Steelers pass rush to be phenomenal and give the secondary more time to cover receivers. Wouldn’t be cheap, but would be well worth it.

Dee Ford - Kansas City Chiefs

Ford has been inconsistent for Kansas City. He looked like a world beater in 2016 with ten sacks, but his other three years were sub par for the 2014 first rounder. Granted, last year Ford had a back injury. He did rebound with a vengeance in 2018 with 13 sacks. His run support game is said to be sub par, but Ford is a very good pass rusher.

Za’Darius Smith - Baltimore Ravens

Everybody talks T-Sizzle and C.J. Mosley, but Smith is a talent. The 2015 fourth-rounder had 8 12 of hs 18 12 career sacks in 2018. Smith would be a great sign and the Steelers wouldn’t hesitate to bring a guy like this over from a division rival. The Steelers already righted the fact that they picked the wrong Ole Miss CB (Senquez Golson) in the second round of 2015. Maybe they could finally get the right Kentucky OLB instead of the Wildcat they selected in Round One that year (Bud Dupree).

K.J. Wright - Seattle Seahawks

Soon to be 30, Wright has had an impressive career in a Seattle uniform. Limited to a mere five games due to an injured knee, Wright is still projected to be ready for 2019 and could be a bargain for the Steelers. Wright has played outside and inside throughout his career.

Shaq Barrett - Denver Broncos

Barrett is a young and solid edge-rush linebacker. Despite missing his entire rookie year, Barrett had a solid 2015 and 2016. Injuries hampered Shaq and limited him to four sacks in 2017. The Broncos added Bradley Chubb and Barrett’s opportunities were limited and he produced only three sacks in 2018, but he has tons of upside.

Other Available Free Agent Outside Linebackers:

Anthony Barr - Minnesota Vikings

Preston Smith - Washington Redskins

Terrell Suggs - Baltimore Ravens

Shane Ray - Denver Broncos

Lorenzo Alexander - Buffalo Bills