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Thread: Tim Benz: Steelers waiting on ILB market despite manageable deals across the NFL

  1. #1
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    Tim Benz: Steelers waiting on ILB market despite manageable deals across the NFL

    Tim Benz: Steelers waiting on ILB market despite manageable deals across the NFL

    Tuesday, March 14, 2023

    While most Pittsburgh Steelers fans have their eyes on what the franchise is doing in free agency at cornerback, I’m more interested in what they are going to do at inside linebacker.

    On Day 1 of the legal tampering period, the Steelers decided to let cornerback Cameron Sutton go to the Detroit Lions instead of matching or exceeding their three-year, $33 million offer ($22.5 million in guarantees). Instead, general manager Omar Khan went with an older, cheaper, short-term option in eight-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson.

    The 32-year-old cornerback is reportedly signing a one-year $7.15 million deal, with a club option for 2024. Normally, the Steelers are inclined to keep their younger, homegrown free agents as opposed to signing players from other teams. But acquiring Peterson while allowing Sutton to bail is justifiable given Peterson’s resume for a lower cap hit and lesser exposure on the back end of the contract.

    What I find more curious than that is the Steelers’ lack of movement on the inside linebacker front. That’s despite a glaring need at the position and a glut of worthy free agent candidates moving at prices that aren’t breaking the banks of other teams.

    OK, maybe not Tremaine Edmunds and the $50 million guaranteed that he got from the Chicago Bears to leave the Buffalo Bills. But what about the other linebacker the Bears signed?

    T.J. Edwards looked like he could’ve been a perfect fit for what the Steelers needed at the position. The former Eagle also went to Chicago for just $6.5 million per year, over three seasons at $12 million guaranteed. Spotrac’s market projection for Edwards was $47 million over four years at $11.9 million per year. That signing is being lauded as a steal in Chicago.

    According to Pro Football Focus, he was the sixth-best linebacker overall and ninth overall in coverage. Those coverage skills at that position are qualities the Steelers have lacked at that position since Ryan Shazier was forced into retirement due to his spinal cord injury in 2017. And at 26 years old, Edwards may just be entering his prime. That’s normally the kind of free agent the Steelers love to sign — a young player who may have been squeezed off another team’s roster due to cap concerns, depth-chart crowding, or a scheme-fit issues.

    Edwards had been linked to Pittsburgh a few times by national outlets as a perfect fit for the Steelers. Maybe Khan had no shot because Edwards was interested in playing closer to his hometown in Illinois. But this strikes me as a player that could’ve been bought out of his hometown loyalties without the Steelers breaking the bank on their cap.

    Other potential linebackers of a similar ilk who would have been a good fit for the Steelers are also heading elsewhere or staying with their original teams.

    Tennessee’s David Long went to the Miami Dolphins for just two years and $11 million. As Sports illustrated pointed out, Long was projected to get nearly $10 million per season or more. That outlet expressed surprise that the Titans didn’t retain him at that price.

    Allow me to express surprise that the Steelers didn’t offer more than that price. If they did and he still said no, there is a problem.

    San Francisco’s Azeez Al-Shaair is an attractive option. But most expect him to wind up in Houston with new head coach DeMeco Ryans. He’s the 49ers former defensive coordinator. Per Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Alex Anzalone remains in Detroit for three years and $18.75 million. The $6.25 million average per year seems like a worthy investment for a guy who is 28 and coming off his best pro season. He led the Lions with 125 total tackles and also chipped in 1.5 sacks, six passes defended and an interception while playing in all 17 games.

    Even if the Steelers wanted to replicate a veteran, short-term deal as they did with Peterson, there are options available. But Bobby Wagner seems to be linked to the Seahawks and Cowboys, Eric Kendricks appears destined for the Los Angeles Chargers, and Lavonte David may stay in Tampa Bay or go to Buffalo or Las Vegas.

    I’m not going to get Steelers in trouble for something they haven’t done yet. It’s not as if the team is definitely entering the draft with ILB still a gaping hole on their roster. A move can still be made. But quality players at the position are going elsewhere at manageable cap figures and that’s puzzling to me, especially since the team has so many other needs to address and this draft is said to be only marginal in depth at the position.

    Unless the team really wants to retain Devin Bush with Myles Jack and Mark Robinson, Khan and Mike Tomlin need to find some help.

    I’m used to seeing the Steelers lay back on the first day of big market NFL free agency. I’m not used to seeing them let good deals get away.

    https://triblive.com/sports/tim-benz...cross-the-nfl/
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  2. #2
    Pro Bowler

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    Yeah, I'm not sure what the deal is with management and their view on LBs. It is worth noting that Weidl didn't value the LB position when he was in Philly. I'm not sure if this is a strategy he's currently implementing or not. I don't like where this is heading so far. Guess, I just got to believe in the management crew and chill out. They are the experts and not me.









  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prowler View Post
    Yeah, I'm not sure what the deal is with management and their view on LBs. It is worth noting that Weidl didn't value the LB position when he was in Philly. I'm not sure if this is a strategy he's currently implementing or not. I don't like where this is heading so far. Guess, I just got to believe in the management crew and chill out. They are the experts and not me.
    We did get a lot better going with 3 Ss in the back half of the season.

  4. #4
    Legend

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    Now that Spillane has signed elsewhere, I might be a little concerned...
    2013 MNF Executive Champion!

    DeVille's final Mock
    1.20 - Tailiese Fuaga, OT, Oregon St
    2.51 - Zach Frazier, C, WVU
    3.84 - Luke Mccaffery, WR, Rice
    3.98 - Andru Phillips, CB, Kentucky
    4.117 - Maason Smith, DT, LSU
    6.178 - Travis Glover, OT, Ga State
    6.195 - Dillon Johnson, RB, Washington


  5. #5
    Legend

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    Same old Commitment to Profitable Mediocrity in Pittsburgh.

  6. #6
    Banned

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    I’m watching ….

  7. #7
    Legend

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    Quote Originally Posted by WindyCitySteel View Post
    Same old Commitment to Profitable Mediocrity in Pittsburgh.

    Steelers have the third most wins in the NFL over the past 20 years, but I guess that equates to "mediocrity" because they don't listen to idiots on message boards.
    "My team, may they always be right, but right or wrong...MY TEAM!"

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