Steelers Sign LB Moats, Don’t Think They Are Finished
The Steelers signed OLB veteran Arthur Moats to a three year deal on Monday.
That’s good news for several reasons.
Firstly, it means the Steelers aren’t without a left side OLB going into the draft or camps.
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Secondly, it means that the team is probably not interested in bringing Jason Worilds back. Even if Worilds does not get the offer he wants from potential suitors – probably somewhere in the $8-9 million per year range – the Steelers could pass on Worilds.
Talks could have broken down poorly and left things soured. He may not want to return. The Steelers also may only sign him if it’s only slightly above Moats’ deal – reportedly at $7.5 million over the three years. I doubt that Worilds will drop his asking price down to $5 million per year.
Lastly, Moats made the most of his time when on the field. As a pass rusher he racked up four sacks in 344 defensive snaps. He was a very good run stopper on the edge as well. People may not think he’s “starter” material, but he could surprise a few people and do just as well (if not better) than Worilds’ 2014 season.
Fans should not rest easy about Moats plugging the LOLB hole. The Steelers will without a doubt look for a rookie OLB in the draft. There’s really no one of mention behind Moats and Jarvis Jones. The team has yet to decide on re-signing James Harrison.
Depth will more than likely come in the way of the draft. They could find another free agent OLB, which I hope they do – someone like Brandon Graham from Philly. They would be in a great position to manage the snaps of duo like Moats and Graham.
But, the front office might use their bargaining power to fill the corner position with veteran prowess.
After all, that is the biggest position of need, and they cannot afford to eat up too many draft picks at corner without one of them being a guaranteed starter by the first quarter of the season.
Signing Ben Roethlisberger to a new contract would free up quite a bit of cap space that he is dragging into the 2015 season. The Moats signing drops their cap space to probably somewhere around $8 million. Signing Big Ben could easily inject $5 million or more of head room allowing them to sign a big free agent.
Usually not the “Steeler Way” to make a big splash in free agency. With the winds of change in full swing – younger team, new defensive coordinator, etc. – GM Kevin Colbert may be ready to reach for a big time player to be the difference maker on this squad.