Steelers sign another Mike Tomlin special with LB Elandon Roberts, cut Myles Jack
Contrary to what many predicted, the Pittsburgh Steelers are showing that they will not be passive when it comes to signing players in free agency. After retaining a few of their own in Larry Ogunjobi and Damontae Kazee, they loaded up on players like CB Patrick Peterson, OG Nate Herbig, and LB Cole Holcomb. But the moves won't stop there.
Recently, we found out the Steelers were one of the three teams in play for Pro Bowl left tackle, Orlando Brown, but he ultimately signed with the Bengals. On Thursday morning, Omar Khan restructured the contract of Minkah Fitzpatrick to clear up an additional $10 million in cap space. Now Pittsburgh has made a few more moves.
Om March 16th, the Steelers signed linebacker, Elandon Roberts. This comes just a day after nabbing LB Cole Holcomb in free agency. Roberts started all 17 games for the Miami Dolphins last season and recorded 107 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, and 4.5 sacks, according to ESPN stats. To make room both financially on the roster, the Steelers officially cut LB Myles Jack.
While Roberts wasn't considered a priority free agent, his starting experience and physical demeanor will be a welcome addition to a Steelers team that greatly lacked run-stopping ability and splash plays from their linebackers last season. Unfortunately, Roberts isn't exactly a complete player.
Steelers sign another downhill LB, but could use a coverage guy
I don't want to knock Roberts before I see what his role will be on the Steelers, and this is probably a quality depth signing. However, it's interesting that Pittsburgh targeted yet another linebacker who excels at and is behind the line of scrimmage.
Roberts is a downhill bruiser (which is great), but like nearly every other off-ball linebacker on the team over the past few years, he's severely lacking in terms of coverage ability. Despite playing on 368 passing snaps last season, Roberts earned a dismal 46.2 pass-coverage grade -- good for just 62nd among 70 qualifying linebackers, per Pro Football Focus.
This isn't exactly what we want to see for a team that has been eaten alive over the middle of the field because of bad coverage from their linebackers. However, it certainly seems like Mike Tomlin has a type, and he clearly values physicality over the ability to turn and cover in space.
The good news is that Roberts will probably be just a rotational linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers who will do some early-down work. Now with Jack gone and their linebackers consisting of Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, Mark Robinson, and Tae Crowder, it will be interesting to see how Pittsburgh will prioritize the off-ball LB position in the NFL Draft.