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Every Single ILB option for the Steelers

Already on the roster:

Vince Williams: The veteran is a lock to be the starting “Mike” linebacker. He was just re-signed and won’t be facing much competition. That leaves the “Will” (Shazier’s old spot) open.

Mathew Thomas: Thomas, a UDFA, has been a pleasant surprise. He’s an athletic freak, and is one of the better, if not the best, cover linebacker on the roster. He is still raw, and may not be the starting ILB Week 1, but he has potential to eventually win the starting job.

L.J. Fort: Fort has been a fan favorite, especially recently, to win the starting job. He’s solid in coverage, and one of the more consistent linebackers on the rosters. But, he has been far from perfect, and the coaches don’t seem to love him for the starting role. He also hasn’t impressed much in preseason (though he hasn’t received significant reps).

Tyler Matakevich: Matakevich is a consistent linebacker and a tackling machine. He’s quite the opposite of a fan favorite, but he is better than many give him credit for. He gets involved in every play, and is a secure tackler (except on Nate Sudfeld). He’s smart and decent in coverage, but his lack of athleticism puts a cap on his coverage ability.

Jon Bostic: Bostic seems set to be the starting ILB opposite Vince Williams, but he is terribly inconsistent. He’s a liability in coverage and struggles to keep track of his assignments and play his role. He is good in the run and has some upside, as he has been held back by injuries in the past.

In the market:

Free Agents:

Navarro Bowman: Though he is a veteran who is solid in the run, Bowman doesn’t offer much of anything in the passing game. He plays the same role as Bostic, and Bostic’s possible upside should mean the Steelers keep him rather than sign Bowman.

Brian Cushing: Cushing is yet another ILB who is good against the run, but struggles in coverage. Cushing could have more upside than Bowman, though as his athletic is still solid. Yet, it is still unlikely that Cushing is signed over Bostic.

Lawrence Timmons: The former Steelers linebacker is similar to both Cushing and Bowman, but offers something neither of them do–knowledge of the system. Yet, Timmons is even less talented than the other two, and did not play well for the Dolphins.

Corey Nelson: The Philadelphia Eagles recently released Nelson, who was expected to be the replacement for Mychal Kendricks. He was a disappointment for the Eagles, but he has a high ceiling. He could be a risky pickup for the Steelers, but the potential is definitely there.

Trade block:

Mason Foster: The redskins linebacker was solid just a few years ago, but hasn’t been as good recently. The Redskins did just resign him, but he was more of a security blanket in case their starter, Zach Brown, does not re-sign with the team. But, Brown did e-sign, which should leave Foster on the trade block.

  • Possible offer: Matt Feiler and Steelers’ 2020 5th for Mason Foster and Redskins’ 2019 7th

KJ Wright: Wright is a veteran on a team who is rebuilding. The Seahawks have a few young linebacker who could take Wright’s spot in the long run, and the team may be trying to save cap space to re-sign Earl Thomas. Wright is an OLB for a 4-3 defense, but an ILB in a 3-4, and is really soild in coverage. He’s easily the best option on the of the bunch, though there haven’t really been any indications that he really is on the trade block.

  • Possible Offer: Landry Jones, Anthony Chickillo and a Steelers’ 2019 4th for K.J. Wright

Mark Barron: Barron was originally a cut candidate for the Rams, but is still on the roster, which has been a surprise to many. He’s inconsistent, but good in coverage and a good fit for the Steelers.

  • Possible offers: Landry Jones, Anthony Chickillo, and Steelers’ 2020 7th for Mark Barron

Manti Te’o: Te’o is a solid but unspectacular linebacker who has not been great for the Saints. It is likely that they would be willing to trade him for cheap.

  • Possible offer: Steelers 2019 5th for Manti Te’o and Saints’ 2019 7th

Jamie Collins: Collins may be difficult to trade for, as the Browns probably do not want to assist a rival in the same division. But, he is a cut candidate and could be picked up later on (as Joe Haden was).

Gerald Hodges: Hodges was once a solid ILB with high upside, but has faded off recently. He’s still has a high ceiling, and posses the coverage ability the Steelers desire.

  • Possible offer: Steelers 2019 5th for Gerald Hodges and Cardinals’ 2019 7th
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