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Can This Free Agency Move Help The Steelers?

The biggest question looming around the Steelers defense is who, if any, can ultimately replace linebacker, Ryan Shazier, this season and perform at his superior level. Most people would have a hard time picking someone out to replicate Shazier’s style while playing the game. The Steelers have desperately tried to fill this gap this offseason and ultimately we won’t truly know the outcome till the Steelers take the field for the first time. One thing that seems to catch the interest of many concerned fans, is the free agent, Mychal Kendricks.

The former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker was finally released from the team after multiple seasons of speculation regarding being traded. But with the loss of Kendricks, the Steelers could make a huge gain from this news if dealt with properly. Kendricks has the experience to show that his versatility could quite possibly make him a very strong candidate to replace Shazier.

Kendricks made invaluable contributions to the Eagles while playing for them, especially during their championship run this past season. He finished with 51 tackles along with a pair of sacks and played 60 percent of the overall defensive snaps. Not only do the Steelers need a player to ‘play’ like Shazier but they need a leader, and Kendricks has the potential to do just that.

Mychal Kendricks’ second season proved to be his best and from there, his playing time has decreased after not being able to perform to that level in the seasons after that. That year he recorded, 86 tackles, four fumble recoveries, four sacks and three interceptions.

Kendricks stepped up his game when his fellow Eagles teammate, linebacker Jordan Hicks, had a season-ending injury. This left a gap in their defense, something that the Steelers could relate to. This free agency could potentially answer that looming question and could quite honestly be a perfect match. The only other concern for the Steelers would be if they have the cap space to sign Kendricks.

Pittsburgh has tried to fill the defensive gap with Jon Bostic, Terrell Edmunds, and Marcus Allen. While all three of these guys cover a specific portion of Shazier’s versatility, not one of them can perform to his level. Bostic will be able to cover Shazier’s run stopping ability, but isn’t considered an ‘every-down player.’ Edmunds and Allen will both try and fill in the rest of the position’s gap.

Kendricks has proved to be an exclusively inside linebacker that can always be relied on. He consistently protects in coverage and finds the running back as close to the line of scrimmage as possible. Last season, Kendricks had six pass deflections and 73 tackles, something that the Steelers could use on their stat chart.

The possibility is there, but if it’s being considered or if there is a chance at all for Mychal Kendricks to be a Pittsburgh Steeler, that’s just something we will have to wait on.

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