NFL free agency is right around the corner, and teams are beginning to make decisions on players whose contracts are set to expire. The Steelers have quite the list of pending free agents themselves, and the next few weeks will be telling as to how the team plans to approach free agency. With that in mind, it is time to begin looking at outside free agents the Steelers could potentially sign this offseason.
Between now and the beginning of the NFL free agency period, we will be going position-by-position, breaking down which players fit the best for what the Steelers need. Currently, the Steelers are in dire need of cornerback(s), left tackle, nose tackle, and guard. They are also in danger of losing multiple linebackers and safeties in free agency, which could make their list of immediate needs longer. Depth concerns at wide receiver, tight end, and EDGE rusher will also need to be addressed by one means or another.
This year’s class of free agents is not as good as the past few, but there are still quality veterans at each position who can come in and make an immediate impact for an NFL franchise. Let us not forget, new names will be added to the free agency pool when teams attempt to create additional cap space by cutting some of their own vets. We will update you on those as they happen.
If you have any thoughts on the players mentioned below, be sure to share it in the comment section below, but without further adieu, it is time to take a closer look at three linebackers the Steelers should consider signing this offseason.
The Steelers would likely have to sacrifice a Cam Sutton re-signing to make this one happen, but my, what a signing this would be! The freakish athlete would not only give the Steelers the length and bulk they lack at linebacker, but he would also provide superb instincts and leadership to a linebacker room ready to move on from Devin Bush, who has struggled to remain focused since his season-ending injury in 2020. He is also only 24 years old, which ensures his value on the other side of this mini rebuild the Steelers are currently going through.
If Pittsburgh can lure him in, I would not be shocked to see him signed to a five-year deal, as it would give the Steelers more flexibility in determining his cap hit from year to year. Signing Edmunds may cost a good $20 million, it might be worth it when putting age and schematic fit into account. It’s time to reunite another set of brothers!
Of the three recommended signings on this list, Edwards is probably the most likely to actually happen, considering his ties to Andy Weidl in Philadelphia. Edwards went undrafted in 2019 due to a lack of athleticism, but his college tape was nothing short of impressive, and his undrafted status only gave him more motivation to prove the doubters wrong. Needless to say, he has improved each season since entering the NFL and has become a true tackling machine, racking up 159 total tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks in 2022.
Edwards is strong instinctually, and he has enough blitzing ability to make you pay if you fail to account for him. He is probably never going to be elite in coverage due to his athletic deficiencies, but he did defend 7 passes in 2022 while only allowing 5.3 yards per target. Expected to cost around $10 million per year, T.J. Edwards could make for a nice consolation prize if Pittsburgh is unable to secure Tremaine Edmunds.
Already penned by BTSC’s Dave Schofield as a great option for the Steelers, Germaine Pratt is a scheme-versatile linebacker who can do a little bit of everything. Recording nearly 100 tackles in 2022, Pratt had arguably his best NFL season to date in just about every category, whether it be run defense, pass rush, or coverage. Boasting an 80.6 PFF grade, Pratt defended 10 passes and only allowed 4.9 yards per target in 2022, proving his worth as a three-down linebacker. If he can be brought in somewhere around the $8 million-per-year range, this would be quite the addition.
Which free agents would you like to see the Steelers consider along the defensive line? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!