Heading into the 2018 NFL Draft without any free agency moves would’ve meant the Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t getting fixed this offseason.
This team needed an inside linebacker, a safety, to figure something out at running back and to find a future quarterback. That’s the entire checklist on Pittsburgh’s dashboard this offseason.
Before Sunday, that checklist was becoming pressing. With a little over a month before the NFL Draft, nothing was getting done.
Meaning they were headed into the draft with more to fix than they could in seven rounds. Yes, there’s talent, and certainly enough to get starters in the first three rounds, but with rookies that can only impact a team as much as rookies can.
After signing Jon Bostic, Pittsburgh is done. Maybe Matthew Slater and a few former players end up back on the roster. Free agency, though, is complete and a success for the Steelers.
Only because they solved an issue. It wasn’t perfect, but bringing in an upgrade at the position is all they needed this offseason. Bostic may not be a Pro Bowl linebacker, but he’s a sound replacement for Ryan Shazier, and provides a two-year window for this team to find their next star.
And it didn’t cost much. Probably. Details of the contract have yet to be released, but everyone is assuming Bostic didn’t get a major deal to come to Pittsburgh.
Which is all this team could afford. With almost no money, Chris Boswell and Anthony Chickillo still waiting for contracts, and a rookie class to sign, Pittsburgh needed to be conservative. That eliminated most of their options for a superstar signing.
So, they took the resources they had and signed the best player with their funds. A 26-year-old run stuffer isn’t the top choice, but by no means is it a poor signing. Giving him two years to prove himself while working with Shazier to return or finding the next star in the 2019 or 2020 NFL Draft provides the best bridge for the future.
Putting Jon Bostic’s two-year deal into the folder, “success.”
It also makes the future a lot easier. The draft can go anywhere with little pressure. Safety, quarterback, another linebacker, there are endless options at No. 28.
How they’ll approach their first pick will become clearer as time passes. Right now, it can go to a number of players. But knowing that there are options, and less of a need to go linebacker, allows them to pick the best talent over filling a void.
It isn’t signing a superstar. 97 tackles in a season is impressive, though. And it makes the rest of the offseason a lot easier for a team on the verge of perfection.