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Steelers 2021 Free Agent Market Watch: Edge/OLBs that 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 Outside Linebackers

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Giants Photo by Jim McIsaac/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.

Should the Steelers decide that they want a new OLB, 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/Outside Linebackers

Shaq Barrett - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Age 28, 6’2”/250 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #21

Stats: Games Played - 15, Speed - 4.6

Overall Grade 38.2 (Poor), Passing 39.5 (Poor), Rushing 56.6 (Average)

Combined Tackles: 57, Solo Tackles: 43, Tackles For Loss: 11, QB Hits: 16, Hurries: 24, Sacks 8.0, Forced Fumbles: 2, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 3, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 70.7 (Above Average), Run Defense: 66.7 (Above Average), Pass Rush: 75.8 (High Quality), Coverage: 62.2 (Average)

Shaq Barrett went from being an undrafted linebacker in 2014 to become a two-time Super Bowl champion. Barrett has played in a 4-3 and as a 3-4 outside edge. In 2019, the Pro Bowler had a 19-sack season. His production fell off in 2020 to eight sacks, but Barrett played a very valuable role in the Tampa defense. Barrett is destined to cash in and recently told CBS Sports, “It’s time to break the bank”. PFF projects a $18 million per year deal over four years.


Yannick Ngakoue - Baltimore Ravens

Age 26, 6’2”/246 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #37

Stats: Games Played - 15, Speed - 4.75

Combined Tackles: 23, Solo Tackles: 14, Tackles For Loss: 7, QB Hits: 11, Hurries: 12, Sacks 8.0, Forced Fumbles: 4, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 1, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 70.0 (Above Average), Run Defense: 45.8 (Below Average), Pass Rush: 76.2 (High Quality), Coverage: 57.9 (Average)

The book on Ngakoue reads “great pass rusher and sub-par against the run”. Yannick could be on his way to his fourth NFL team at only 26. He may be best served as a situational pass rusher, but does that warrant a $17.5 million deal that PFF projects.


Matthew Judon - Baltimore Ravens

Age 28, 6’3”/261 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #52

Stats: Games Played - 14, Speed - 4.73

Combined Tackles: 50, Solo Tackles: 32, Tackles For Loss: 9, QB Hits: 21, Hurries: 11, Sacks 6.0, Forced Fumbles: 0, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 2, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 59.4 (Average), Run Defense: 59.1 (Average), Pass Rush: 63.7 (Average), Coverage: 73.0 (Above Average)

Matt Judon has always been a reliable and durable pass rusher. Playing in a pass rush heavy scheme in Baltimore, Judon has never hit double digits in sacks. He’s been close though. Will he be worth the $17 million projected by PFF? That could be a risky bet.


Jadeveon Clowney - Tennessee Titans

Age 28, 6’5”/255 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #19

Stats: Games Played - 8, Speed - 4.53

Combined Tackles: 19, Solo Tackles: 14, Tackles For Loss: 4, QB Hits: 6, Hurries: 5, Sacks 0.0, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 4, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 74.9 (Above Average), Run Defense: 69.9 (Above Average), Pass Rush: 69.6 (Above Average), Coverage: 80.3 (High Quality)

Clowney was looking for big money and ended up betting on himself with a one-rear deal in Tennessee. He didn’t record a single sack. He was still pretty good in coverage and against the run. But he’s not going to get the blockbuster deal that a former No. 1 overall should warrant. PFF projects another one-year deal worth about $13 million.


Hassan Reddick - Arizona Cardinals

Age 26, 6’1”/235 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #25

Stats: Games Played - 16, Speed - 4.52

Combined Tackles: 63, Solo Tackles: 43, Tackles For Loss: 15, QB Hits: 16, Hurries: 16, Sacks 12.5, Forced Fumbles: 6, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 4, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 72.8 (Above Average), Run Defense: 56.7 (Average), Pass Rush: 82.6 (High Quality), Coverage: 52.5 (Below Average)

Reddick was playing out of place in the NFL. When Arizona switched him to the edge, the former Temple Owl started to thrive with 12.5 sacks. General Managers will have to determine whether Reddick is a “Walk-Year Wonder” or if the position-switch has helped him find his true position. PFF thinks he could go for $8.5 million per season. That could make Reddick a bargain if he matches his 2020 production.


Steelers Free Agent Edge/Outside Linebackers

Bud Dupree

Age 28, 6’4”/269 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #75

Stats: Games Played - 11, Speed - 4.56

Combined Tackles: 31, Solo Tackles: 23, Tackles For Loss: 8, QB Hits: 15, Hurries: 12, Sacks 8.0, Forced Fumbles: 2, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 2, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 60.2 (Average), Run Defense: 63.4 (Average), Pass Rush: 61.2 (Average), Coverage: 40.0 (Poor)

Dupree has had 19.5 sacks over the past two seasons and has really thrived since Keith Butler adjusted the scheme to allow the OLB to unleash on quarterbacks. But his knee injury on December 2nd may have hindered his earning ability in the manner that it did the Steelers 2020 season down the final stretch. It’s unlikely that the Steelers could afford to bring back No. 48, but if the market is driven down...you never know. PFF projects Bud only getting a one-year deal worth $10 million.

Olasunkanmi Adeniyi

Age 23, 6’1”/248 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - Not Ranked

Stats: Games Played - 15, Speed - 4.83

Combined Tackles: 16, Solo Tackles: 11, Tackles For Loss: 1, QB Hits: 0, Hurries: 4, Sacks 0.0, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 0, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 51.6 (Below Average), Run Defense: 51.2 (Below Average), Pass Rush: 50.4 (Below Average), Coverage: 77.1 (High Quality)

Adeniyi is a restricted free agent and does not have the resume’ for teams to surrender a compensation pick should he be tendered by the team. I expect a return by Ola, but he most likely will remain a backup.

Jayrone Elliott

Age 29, 6’3”/240 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - Not Ranked

Stats: Games Played - 8

Combined Tackles: 63, Solo Tackles: 43, Tackles For Loss: 15, QB Hits: 16, Hurries: 16, Sacks 12.5, Forced Fumbles: 6, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 4, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 36.6 (Poor), Run Defense: 42.9 (Poor), Pass Rush: 52.4 (Below Average), Coverage: 43.0 (Poor)

Elliott is a bottom of the roster guy, but provides decent depth. He could be brought back on a minimum deal.


Other Free Agent Edge/Outside Linebackers

Markus Golden - Arizona Cardinals

Isaiah Irving - Arizona Cardinals

Tyus Bowser - Baltimore Ravens

Pernell McPhee - Baltimore Ravens

Julian Stanford (RFA) - Carolina Panthers

Barkevious Mingo - Chicago Bears

Jeremiah Attaochu - Denver Broncos

Anthony Chickhillo - Denver Broncos

Brennan Scarlett - Houston Texans

Kamalei Correa - Jacksonville Jaguars

Vic Beasley - Las Vegas Raiders

Leonard Floyd - Los Angeles Rams

Samson Ebukam - Los Angeles Rams

Derek Rivers - Los Angeles Rams

Vince Biegel - Miami Dolphins

Kamu Grugier-Hill - Miami Dolphins

Kyler Fackrell - New York Giants

Jabaal Sheard - New York Giants

Jordan Jenkins - New York Jets

Tarell Basham - New York Jets

Bruce Irvin - Seattle Seahawks

Ryan Kerrigan - Washington Football Team

Ryan Anderson - Washington Football Team


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

The Edge/Defensive Ends the Steelers Maybe Can’t Afford