Genard Avery was a shocking release by the Steelers and some of these free agent options could be getting a call soon.
The Steelers recently had to cut their roster from 85 to 80 players prior to the August 23rd deadline for the second wave of cuts. That brought some obvious names to pop up on the transaction list, but parting ways with edge defender Genard Avery was a surprise. He had been dealing with an injury for a good chunk of camp and maybe that is why Pittsburgh took the actions that they did.
The depth behind the starters at the outside linebacker position was shallow before and it is about as deep as a kiddie pool now. Something will need to be done to bring in some talent at the position. The black and gold need depth there so their starters can get a breather from time to time. Here are some free agents they could target.
Jeremiah Attaochu could be an option for the Steelers
Currently, Jeremiah Attaochu is searching for his next opportunity to play in the NFL. If that happens, it will be the fifth franchise that he has played for since being drafted into the league. He is a former second-round that has applied around the same career output as Genard Avery has.
There are some decent options still out on the open market that the defense could use to their advantage. Attaochu would be a nice depth piece to bring in when T.J. Watt or Alex Highsmith need to take a snap or two so they can catch their breath. This player has draft pedigree and could play well in a depth role on this club.
Dee Ford is looking to rebound his career and could be a good gamble
Dee Ford is still looking for a job after being one of the well-known pass rushers in the NFL for a while. For one reason or another, things never really progressed for this player after he signed his major contract extension. The main concern with this player is his durability going forward with his career and that is scaring away teams.
He has not recorded a double sack season in three seasons since he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers from the Kansas City Chiefs. That was mostly due to the lack of health that he did not have during those years. He is now on the street and would be worth the gamble for the black and gold as a depth guy that could potentially become a steal if he can stay healthy.
Jason Pierre-Paul would be a nice veteran presence behind the starters
Age seems like it is starting to catch up to Jason Pierre-Paul when you look at his career numbers. He will be 34 years old when the new year hits and that could scare some teams away. 2021 was not his best year and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to move on from him as they look toward a new direction.
The Steelers might be wise to keep him on speed dial as they continue to look for answers at the edge position. Pierre-Paul would not fit their scheme traditionally, but he could provide a veteran presence that can come off the bench and provide reliable snaps. Maybe he is no longer the starter that he was, but he could play that third spot well under a controlled role.
Alex Okafor is a lesser-known name who can be dependable for the Steelers
This would be another veteran option for Pittsburgh to negotiate a cheap deal with. Alex Okafor is still looking for work and has been putting up depth numbers for a while. He is not going to shock you on gameday as he is another Genard Avery type on the open market. Okafor could be an interesting option for the black and gold as they search for options.
Okafor is 31 years old and will be winding down his career in a couple of years. He can still provide reliable snaps that would be an upgrade over the current outside linebackers on the roster. Derrek Tuszka and Delontae Scott cannot be the only players behind the starters on the team.
Trey Flowers could find a nice fit with this team through his experience
Trey Flowers is a big name on the market, just like Dee Ford. Both have solid pedigrees in this league that should still get them some roles on different clubs this year. Flowers does not have the same high level of play that Ford had in the past, and that seems like the main reason he is still available.
This veteran seems like his market could be heating up as he visited the Miami Dolphins recently. That could always lead to a signing, but the Steelers should check and see what this player could demand on the market. He would be a proven veteran guy that plays the game smart, which Pittsburgh needs in their depth players at the position.
The Steelers still have some potential fits available out on the free agent market at the moment. There are some players that could come in and replace the role that the team hoped for Genard Avery to play.