5 bargain free agents the Steelers must sign this offseason

Marlon Mack #25 of the Indianapolis Colts. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Marlon Mack #25 of the Indianapolis Colts. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Justin Ellis (71) Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

DT Justin Ellis

The Steelers got a shocking result from Tyson Alualu’s switch to nose tackle this past season, as the veteran put up a great season despite having a mostly average career. As a run stopper, the team had few better than Alualu, and he was often forcing pressure in the passing game as well. While he is aging, he may still have a better market than most expect. Ideally, the team will get him back with a cheap cap hit, but if he lands a better deal elsewhere, Pittsburgh will need a contingency plan.

Look no further than the Ravens Justin Ellis. While he is no spring chicken either anymore, Ellis does one thing exceptionally well throughout his career: he is a powerful run stopper. His 0.5 career sacks showcase his obvious issues with rushing the passer, but he can take up space in the run game. He is a throwback to the old-school nose tackles that did just that.

Luckily, those payers don’t get paid that well anymore, and it would be shocking to see Ellis get more than the minimum. That said, he could add to the defensive line rotation and come in during goal line and obvious running plays. While getting a young option like Carlos Davis more snaps would be the first goal, mixing in Ellis would keep this line fresh. Again, this is based on Alualu going elsewhere; but if he does, the team should have a cheap fix in a player like Ellis.