Grading every external free agent signing for the Steelers so far

Denver Broncos v Houston Texans
Denver Broncos v Houston Texans / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
3 of 4

Patrick Queen Grade. C+. Linebacker. 3-years, $41M. Patrick Queen

Patrick Queen free agency grade: C+

I know fans and NFL media alike have been quick to give the Pittsburgh Steelers an 'A' for signing Patrick Queen in free agency. I'm not ready to do that. While I think Queen is an exciting acquisition, he's a polarizing prospect who isn't guaranteed to be a good player for the Steelers.

Queen's resume already includes 454 tackles and 37 tackles for a loss in his first four NFL seasons to go with Pro Bowl honors in 2023. However, I think the box score is a bit misleading. On tape, Queen is a read-and-react linebacker who was aided greatly by one of the NFL's best defenses in Baltimore.

Queen also benefitted from working alongside Roquan Smith -- one of the best linebackers in the league. What scares me is that Queen is a one-year wonder. Though he did have a very good season in 2023, he was not a good football player prior to that -- particularly in his first two seasons.

One of the biggest factors in my grade is that the Steelers spent a lot of money on a non-premium position. Queen received a three-year, $41 million deal with Pittsburgh ($13.66 million per season). This is a lot of money to dish out to an off-ball linebacker. With these resources, the Steelers could have locked up a long-term center or essentially any cornerback on the market.

The good news is that Patrick Queen will be just 25 years old for the 2024 season and the arrow is pointed up. I don't think Queen is the sixth-best linebacker in the NFL (as his new money would suggest), and at this cost, he better be the best LB this team has had since Ryan Shazier.