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Steelers 2021 Free Agent Market Watch: Edge/Defensive Ends the Steelers maybe can’t afford

BTSC takes a look at the top free agents at each position, whether or not they are in the Steelers price range. Here are the Defensive Ends.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Disclaimer: The author realizes that the 2021 Steelers are probably going to be 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.

The Steelers have talent on the defensive line and are set at the ends with Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt. But you never know if they will be looking to add, especially if his brothers are on the team. Should the Steelers decide that they want a new DE, this is who is looking for a deal.

ONCE AGAIN. THE AUTHOR REALIZES THAT THE STEELERS DO NOT HAVE THE FUNDS FOR MANY OF THESE PLAYERS. HOWEVER, THIS IS THE LIST OF WHO IS AVAILABLE TO THE ENTIRE LEAGUE AND THE STEELERS. YOU CAN CRITICIZE THE IDIOT AUTHOR ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER OR BLEACHER REPORT COMMENTS SECTION FOR WASTING YOUR TIME AND NOT KNOWING ANYTHING AT ALL, AGAIN AND AGAIN. HOWEVER, THESE WILL CONTINUE TO APPEAR.


Most Notable Free Agent Edge/Defensive Ends

J.J Watt - Houston Texans

Age 32, 6’5”/288 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #7

Stats: Games Played - 16, Speed - 4.81

Combined Tackles: 63, Solo Tackles: 43, Tackles For Loss: 15, QB Hits: 16, Hurries: 16, Sacks 5.0, Forced Fumbles: 2, Fumble Recoveries: 1, Interceptions: 1, Pass Defenses: 7, Touchdowns: 1

Overall: 85.4 (Elite), Run Defense: 81.0 (High Quality), Pass Rush: 76.6 (High Quality), Coverage: 56.9 (Average)

Steelers fans know all about J.J. and would love to see their team complete the trifecta of the football brothers. J.J. turns 32 in March and he’s probably not a DPOY candidate anymore, but he was still fantastic last year. He’s a perfect short-term signing for a team on the fringe of a championship.


Trey Hendrickson - New Orleans Saints

Age 26, 6’4”/270 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #28

Stats: Games Played - 15, Speed - 4.65

Combined Tackles: 25, Solo Tackles: 22, Tackles For Loss: 12, QB Hits: 25, Hurries: 7, Sacks 13.5, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 1, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 72.1 (Above Average), Run Defense: 54.8 (Below Average), Pass Rush: 78.0 (High Quality), Coverage: 44.0 (Poor)

Trey Hendrickson wasn’t an every down player in New Orleans, but still racked up 13.5 sacks. He’s young and dynamic and probably going to break the bank. PFF projects him getting a deal worth $12 million per year.


Melvin Ingram III - Los Angeles Chargers

Age 32, 6’2”/247 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #27

Stats: Games Played - 7, Speed - 4.79

Combined Tackles: 10, Solo Tackles: 5, Tackles For Loss: 0, QB Hits: 5, Hurries: 7, Sacks 0.0, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 4, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 72.3 (Above Average), Run Defense: 53.8 (Below Average), Pass Rush: 76.3 (High Quality), Coverage: 77.8 (High Quality)

After a slow start, Ingram’s been around a while and has had a pretty good career. He’s not the pass rusher that he once was, but could command around $10 million as a great secondary pass rusher.


Carl Lawson - Cincinnati Bengals

Age 25, 6’2”/265 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #14

Stats: Games Played - 16, Speed - 4.67

Combined Tackles: 36, Solo Tackles: 18, Tackles For Loss: 4, QB Hits: 32, Hurries: 11, Sacks 5.5, Forced Fumbles: 2, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 0, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 76.3 (High Quality), Run Defense: 61.1 (Average), Pass Rush: 84.9 (High Quality), Coverage: 54.0 (Below Average)

Lawson gets pressure on the quarterback and grades well on the pass rush. He really excelled his rookie season in this arena. As a run stopper, not as much. But there’s so much upside here for the 26-year old.


Olivier Vernon - Cleveland Browns

Age 30, 6’2”/262 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #22

Stats: Games Played - 14, Speed - 4.8

Combined Tackles: 36, Solo Tackles: 24, Tackles For Loss: 12, QB Hits: 16, Hurries: 12, Sacks 9.0, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 1, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 3, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 74.6 (Above Average), Run Defense: 71.1 (Above Average), Pass Rush: 71.6 (Above Average), Coverage: 62.0 (Average)

Although getting older, Vernon is still a very good run stopper and knows how to get to the quarterback with nine sacks last year. The big question mark is the Achilles injury suffered against the Steelers in Week 17. So, he might not be ready to start the 2021 season. PFF thinks Vernon can be gotten for a bargain of $2 million.


Steelers Free Agent Edge/Defensive Ends

Cassius Marsh

Age 28, 6’4”/245 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - Not Ranked

Stats: Games Played - 8, Speed - 4.89

Combined Tackles: 16, Solo Tackles: 14, Tackles For Loss: 0, QB Hits: 1, Hurries: 12, Sacks 0.0, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 0, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 44.1 (Poor), Run Defense: 40.0 (Above Average), Pass Rush: 51.0 (Poor)

Marsh is listed as a Defensive End, but played at OLB in limited action in Pittsburgh. Cassius showed up late to the black-and-gold party. He could be a guy that they offer a bargain deal and bring in to show his worth in camp.


Other Free Agent Edge/Defensive Ends

Edmond Robinson - Atlanta Falcons

Steven Means - Atlanta Falcons

Charles Harris - Atlanta Falcons

Trent Murphy - Buffalo Bills

Mario Edwards - Chicago Bears

Margus Hunt - Cincinnati Bengals

Tyrone Crawford - Dallas Cowboys

Aldon Smith - Dallas Cowboys

Everson Griffen - Detroit Lions

Denico Autry - Indianapolis Colts

Al-Quadin Muhammad - Indianapolis Colts

Aaron Lynch - Jacksonville Jaguars

Dawuane Smoot - Jacksonville Jaguars

Morgan Fox - Los Angeles Rams

Takkarist McKinley - Las Vegas Raiders

Alex Okafor - Kansas City Chiefs

Taco Charlton - Kansas City Chiefs

Ifeadi Odenigbo (RFA) - Minnesota Vikings

Deatrich Wise - New England Patriots

Shilique Calhoun - New England Patriots

John Simon - New England Patriots

Noah Spence - New Orleans Saints

Vinny Curry - Philadelphia Eagles

Solomon Thomas - San Francisco 49ers

Kerry Hyder - San Francisco 49ers

Jordan Willis - San Francisco 49ers

Ezekiel Ansah - San Francisco 49ers

Ronald Blair - San Francisco 49ers

Dion Jordan - San Francisco 49ers

Damontre Moore - Seattle Seahawks

Branden Jackson - Seattle Seahawks

Benson Mayowa - Seattle Seahawks

Jack Crawford - Tennessee Titans


If you missed any of the other positions in the series, check them out below.

The Offensive Tackles the Steelers Maybe Can’t Afford

The Guards the Steelers Maybe Can’t Afford

The Centers the Steelers Maybe Can’t Afford

The Tight Ends the Steelers Maybe Can’t Afford

The Running Backs the Steelers Maybe Can’t Afford

The Fullbacks the Steelers Maybe Can’t Afford