Disclaimer: The author realizes that the team is burning in Salary Cap Hell and can’t pony up much money for free agents. However, you never know what they have planned and it’s the author’s responsibility to highlight the free agent options. It’s like the lyric in the Joe Jackson song, “You Can’t Get What You Want”... Til you know what you want.
The Steelers have an uncertain situation when it comes to the position of Right Outside Linebacker. Bud Dupree could be franchise tagged or test the waters of free agency. Will they pony up a ton of money for the player that finally blossomed in Pittsburgh with 11.5 sacks, 17 QB hits, 4 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries or do they draft one? If he walks, do they try to drum up money to bring in one through free agency? As unlikely as the prospect is, Kevin Colbert could get lucky under the couch cushions. Here the list of available free agents should the Steelers find themselves able to shop come March.
Shaq Barrett - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2019 Stats - 16 games, 19.5 sacks, 37 QB hits, 6 forced fumbles, 0 fumble recoveries
A disappointment in Denver, Barrett had a career year for the Bucs in 2019 by finishing just a half-a-sack shy of 20. He was pretty good in run support as well. Barrett, if not franchised, will break the bank in free agency. Definitely not an option for the Steelers.
Dante Fowler - Los Angeles Rams
2019 Stats - 16 games, 11.5 sacks, 16 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
Like Dupree, Fowler didn’t break out until the end of his rookie deal. However, the third-overall selection of the Jags in 2015 was traded to the Rams in 2018 and blossomed his first full year in Los Angeles with the same amount of sacks as Bud. If the price isn’t right to keep Dupree, Fowler won’t be an alternative.
Kyler Fackrell - Green Bay Packers
2019 Stats - 16 games, 1 sack, 10 QB hits, 0 forced fumbles, 0 fumble recoveries
Fackrell had 10.5 sacks in 2018, but the Utah State product did not start a single contest in 2019 due to the signings of Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith. The 28-year old knows how to get the passer and could be a low cost option to replace Dupree.
Matt Judon - Baltimore Ravens
2019 Stats - 16 games, 9.5 sacks, 33 QB hits, 4 forced fumbles, 0 fumble recoveries
Following the departures of Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs, Judon became a devastating pass rusher for the Ravens defense. Like the Steelers with Dupree, the Ravens could put the franchise tag on Judon for about $16 million. Baltimore has more cap room to do so for the player that was fourth in the league with 33 QB hits, almost double that of Bud. If the Steelers can’t afford Bud, Judon will be out of range as well.
Yannick Ngakoue - Jacksonville Jaguars
2019 Stats - 15 games, 8 sacks, 15 QB hits, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
Man, what I wouldn’t do to hear yinzers try and pronounce this 24-year old’s surname. A bargain as a third-rounder for the Maryland Terps in 2016, Ngakoue has become a devastating pass rusher for the Jags. The young edge rusher fits better in a 3-4 defense, but might not fit under the cap in Pittsburgh.
Other Notable Free Agent Outside Linebackers
Markus Golden - New York Giants
Jordan Jenkins - New York Jets
Vic Beasley - Atlanta Falcons
Aaron Lynch - Chicago Bears
Terrell Suggs - Kansas City Chiefs
Regardless of affordability, what Free Agent Outside Linebacker would you like the Steelers to sign in 2020?
This poll is closed