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Steelers 2021 Free Agent Market Watch: Interior Defensive Linemen 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 Defensive Tackles.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/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 had solid play on the defensive line recently. Tyson Alualu was a major reason why. No. 94 is a free agent though and could leave the Steel City. Should that happen and the Steelers decide that they need to look for an interior defensive linemen, 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 Defensive Tackles

Leonard Williams - New York Giants

Age 26, 6’5”/302 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #15

Stats: Games Played - 16, Speed - 4.97

Combined Tackles: 57, Solo Tackles: 29, Tackles For Loss: 14, QB Hits: 30, Hurries: 12, Sacks 11.5, Forced Fumbles: 0, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 1, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 79.8 (High Quality), Run Defense: 82.6 (High Quality), Pass Rush: 69.9 (Above Average), Coverage: 55.8 (Average)

It took a long time for Williams to find his groove after being selected in the first round with the Jets, but 2020 was a standout year for the New York Football Giant. Exceptional against the run, the sixth-overall pick out of USC in 2015 had 13 sacks last season. Williams could get a $20 million per year deal according to PFF.


Shelby Harris - Denver Broncos

Age 29, 6’2”/290 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #8

Stats: Games Played - 11, Speed - 4.9

Combined Tackles: 32, Solo Tackles: 20, Tackles For Loss: 4, QB Hits: 11, Hurries: 6, Sacks 2.5, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 7, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 88.3 (Elite), Run Defense: 76.1 (High Quality), Pass Rush: 83.1 (High Quality), Coverage: 57.6 (Average)

Shelby Harris is an underrated that is equally staunch against the run as he is adept at getting to the quarterback. In fact, he’s one of the game’s top run stopper. The seventh-round pick is approaching 30, so that could hinder his getting a longer deal. But still, PFF projects a three-year pact worth around $11 million per year.


Dalvin Tomlinson - New York Giants

Age 27, 6’3”/318 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #25

Stats: Games Played - 16, Speed - 5.19

Combined Tackles: 49, Solo Tackles: 25, Tackles For Loss: 8, QB Hits: 10, Hurries: 5, Sacks 3.5, Forced Fumbles: 0, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 4, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 75.1 (High Quality), Run Defense: 70.3 (Above Average), Pass Rush: 74.6 (Above Average), Coverage: 57.6 (Average)

Tomlinson is a tremendous run-stuffing nose tackle that has a nose for the quarterback as well. PFF projects Dalvin getting circa $13 million per year.


Sheldon Rankins - New Orleans Saints

Age 27, 6’2”/305 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #66

Stats: Games Played - 12, Speed - 5.03

Combined Tackles: 20, Solo Tackles: 13, Tackles For Loss: 3, QB Hits: 9, Hurries: 3, Sacks 1.5, Forced Fumbles: 0, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 1, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 57.8 (Average), Run Defense: 56.7 (Average), Pass Rush: 62.3 (Average), Coverage: 54.8 (Below Average)

Rankins was slow to rebound last year after an Achilles injury shelved him in 2019. But he has put some stellar seasons under his belt. Yet another run stopper that doesn’t get to the quarterback as much. Nonetheless, Rankins is projected by PFF to take home a pact for around 7.25 million per year.


DaQuan Jones - Tennessee Titans

Age 29, 6’4”/322 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #54

Stats: Games Played - 16, Speed - 5.35

Combined Tackles: 49, Solo Tackles: 29, Tackles For Loss: 4, QB Hits: 6, Hurries: 5, Sacks 2.0, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 0, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 67.1 (Above Average), Run Defense: 64.1 (Average), Pass Rush: 65.1 (Above Average), Coverage: 58.0 (Average)

DaQuan Jones has been a solid and versatile defender on the Tennessee defensive line. He could be a bargain signing like Tyson Alualu was four years ago.


Steelers Free Agent Defensive Tackles

Tyson Alualu

Age 34, 6’3”/304 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - #9

Stats: Games Played - 15, Speed - 4.87

Combined Tackles: 38, Solo Tackles: 17, Tackles For Loss: 4, QB Hits: 5, Hurries: 2, Sacks 2.0, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 5, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 89.6 (Elite), Run Defense: 82.0 (High Quality), Pass Rush: 80.5 (Above Average), Coverage: 73.2 (Above Average)

Alualu was pretty solid up front for the Steelers in his career in black-and-gold. But his first seson as a full-time starter in Pittsburgh was tremendous. PFF projects a $6 million per year price tag for Alualu. Kevin Colbert and Co. may make Alualu a priority if they can.

Chris Wormley

Age 27, 6’5”/305 lbs.

PFF Position Ranking (Edge) - Not Ranked

Stats: Games Played - 13, Speed - 4.82

Combined Tackles: 8, Solo Tackles: 3, Tackles For Loss: 1, QB Hits: 3, Hurries: 1, Sacks 1.0, Forced Fumbles: 0, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 0, Touchdowns: 0

Overall: 83.0 (High Quality), Run Defense: 71.8 (Above Average), Pass Rush: 79.2 (High Quality)

Wormley came over in a rare trade with Baltimore. He didn’t see a lot of action, but graded out solid. But with young depth talent on the d-line, Wormley might end up as just a one-year rental.


Other Free Agent Defensive Tackles

Angelo Blackson - Arizona Cardinals

Corey Peters - Arizona Cardinals

Domata Peko - Arizona Cardinals

Josh Mauro - Arizona Cardinals

Derek Wolfe - Baltimore Ravens

Jihad Ward - Baltimore Ravens

Justin Ellis - Baltimore Ravens

Kawann Short - Carolina Panthers

Brent Urban - Chicago Bears

Roy Robertson-Harris - Chicago Bears

John Jenkins - Chicago Bears

Christian Covington - Cincinnati Bengals

Mike Daniels - Cincinnati Bengals

Xavier Williams - Cincinnati Bengals

Larry Ogunjobi - Cleveland Browns

Vincent Taylor - Cleveland Browns

Eli Ankou - Dallas Cowboys

Joel Heath - Denver Broncos

DeMarcus Walker - Denver Broncos

Sylvester Williams - Denver Broncos

Montravius Adams - Green Bay Packers

Damon Harrison - Green Bay Packers

Billy Winn - Green Bay Packers

P.J. Hall (RFA) - Houston Texans

Carlos Watkins - Houston Texans

Abry Jones - Jacksonville Jaguars

Adam Gotsis - Jacksonville Jaguars

Tanoh Kpassagnon - Kansas City Chiefs

Mike Pennel - Kansas City Chiefs

Johnathan Hankins - Las Vegas Raiders

Isaac Rochell (RFA) - Los Angeles Chargers

Damion Square - Los Angeles Chargers

Davon Godchaux - Miami Dolphins

Jaleel Johnson - Minnesota Vikings

Carl Davis - New England Patriots

Lawrence Guy - New England Patriots

Adam Butle - New England Patriots

Austin Johnson - New York Giants

Trevon Coley - New York Jets

T.Y. McGill - Philadelphia Eagles

Hassan Ridgeway - Philadelphia Eagles

Poona Ford (RFA) - Seattle Seahawks

Ndamukong Suh - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Steve McLendon - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rakeem Nunez-Roches - Tampa Bay Buccaneers