3 AFC North rival signings that could be problematic for the Steelers

Steelers, Orlando Brown
Steelers, Orlando Brown / G Fiume/GettyImages
3 of 3

1. Orlando Brown Jr. should be a big upgrade for the Bengals

In two games against the Cincinnati Bengals last year, Alex Highsmith recorded an impressive 3.5 sacks and 7 quarterback hits. They decided that former first-round pick, Jonah Williams, wasn't cutting in and they went all out for an upgrade in free agency. Newcomer Orlando Brown Jr. is a four-time Pro Bowler who just earned a $64 million contract to protect Joe Burrow.

This is going to make things a lot trickier on Pittsburgh. Though he's not a great athlete, Brown wins with remarkable play strength and unmatched length to push his opponents up the arc. It's worth noting that Highsmith did record 2.0 sacks in 2 games against the Chiefs in 2021 (including the playoff loss), but Brown has been a much better overall player than Williams so far in his career.

Getting a notable upgrade at one of the most important positions in football is going to be huge for the Bengals. This will not only help improve a pedestrian rushing attack but should allow Joe Burrow more time in the pocket to hit players who are already impossible to cover like Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.

The Bengals continue to take another step forward with this move, and if Highsmith doesn't return following the 2023 season, Brown's presence could prove to be even more of an issue when the Steelers and Bengals face each other two times per year.

Next. Re-grading the Pittsburgh Steelers draft one year later. dark