The Pittsburgh Steelers are never big players in free agency. It just isn’t what they do, but when they do bring in a free agent player, it is typically a player who can help elevate the team in multiple ways.
Think of players like DeAngelo Williams and Jerricho Cotchery. Both were shining examples of what a Steelers free agent resembles.
Entering the 2016 NFL season, the Steelers were looking for help at tight end, and they dipped into the free agent waters to sign former Chargers tight end Ladarius Green. There was a massive amount of excitement to the selection, and the thought of a tall athletic tight end to stretch the field seemed to have arrived.
The fact he had an ankle injury, which required surgery that offseason, heading into the offseason was nothing more than a foot note among the amount of media attention the pick up was garnering.
Organized Team Activites (OTAs) and minicamp came and went, no Green.
Training camp came and went, no Green.
The Steelers got to the point where his ankle, or concussion issues, led to him starting the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. He did finally see the field, and was a difference maker when he was on the field, but those moments were few and far between as concussions ended his season, and ultimately his time with the Steelers who released him on Friday.
For these reasons, and also the financial burden Green brought to the team, Green found himself on OverTheCap’s 30 worst signings of 2016 list. In fact, Green was considered the 12th worse signing out of the 30 which were ranked.
See what they had to say about Green, and why his signing was so bad:
12. Ladarius Green, Steelers- 4 years, $20 million
Green only lasted one season for Pittsburgh playing in just 6 games and collecting $6 million for his efforts. Before he even suited up for Pittsburgh he was hurt and at one point it was rumored he might retire which would have benefited the Steelers since he would have had to return his signing bonus. To make matters worse my guess is he may qualify for further CBA injury protection which will add another $1.15 million to the bill.
When looking at the numbers, you can understand why Green was so high on this list, but to me it goes well beyond just the financial aspect of things. Green was supposed to change the offense, and really help transition the team from Heath Miller into a more modern day look at tight end.
He did that for 6 games, and that was it.
The Steelers usually don’t swing and miss this badly in free agency, but it is safe to say Green could, and probably should, go down as one of the worst free agent signings in Pittsburgh Steelers history.