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Malik Hooker makes official visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers, remains unsigned

The former first round draft pick was in Pittsburgh this week visiting the Steelers.

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers might not be done adding free agents to their roster, and although they haven’t signed anyone recently doesn’t mean they aren’t being active in the market. After being in the mix for Ryan Kerrigan, it is now being reported the Steelers have hosted free agent safety Malik Hooker this week.

Hooker is an intriguing prospect. Throughout his career he has totaled 7 interceptions, 124 tackles, 11 pass breakups, and 2 fumble recoveries in four professional seasons. However, Hooker has been snake bitten by injuries missing 29 games in that time span, including suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in Week 2 of the 2020 season. Hooker’s laundry list of surgeries include: double sports hernia surgery, surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL, surgery to repair torn a meniscus, and of course the Achilles injury from a year ago.

If Hooker is added to the Steelers’ roster, he will help round out the safety depth chart behind Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds. On top of that, Hooker would also give defensive coordinator Keith Butler the opportunity to utilize Hooker in a hybrid safety role, putting three safeties on the field at the same time.

But while this is all intriguing, it all hinges on Hooker’s health. A ruptured Achilles tendon can take a full calendar year to fully heal, and that would mean Hooker could start the season on the shelf. A player like that is a risk to bring on board, and would have to sign at the right price.

As it pertains to financials, the Steelers don’t have a ton of salary cap space remaining, so any additions to the roster would likely accompany some roster changes or contract restructures.

A lot still to be deciphered, so be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.