4 free agent OLB’s Steelers should sign to replace T.J. Watt

Trent Murphy #93 of the Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Trent Murphy #93 of the Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Aldon Smith #58 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Steelers should sign Smith

If the Steelers want to get a better edge rush going, signing Aldon Smith would be a solid move. The veteran has his share of off-the-field issues as well as deficiencies in his run defense, but he can still get after the quarterback as evident by his five sacks last year with the Cowboys. You wouldn’t want Smith playing starter’s share of snaps but having him come on the field to get after the quarterback would be a fine role for the veteran.

Charlton would essentially play in base defense while Smith would come in for subpackage work. This gets the best pass rushers on the field at any given moment, and it keeps Charlton fresh for whenever Alex Highsmith needs a break. The splitting of responsibilities makes a lot of sense moving forward for the team. There is no singular player that will replace Watt, so utilizing the strengths of multiple different players would be a help.

Of all the names on the market, Smith is easily the best pure pass rusher. That said, he offers little elsewhere for a team. He doesn’t play special teams and his run defense is mediocre at best. The Steelers would be signing him knowing that all they are getting out of him is a pass rusher. That’s what the defense needs though in the wake of the Watt injury, and Smith would fill that void well.