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FA Linebackers Still Available

Even though the Steelers seem content at middle linebacker at the moment that could always change once they get into training camp. Injuries happen so we may as well review some potential targets still on the market.

Rey Maualuga
– Maualuga fell off the deep end last season in Cincinnati. Eventually he lost his starting spot as the veteran was phased out of the defense and eventually released. Maualuga is a tough, big bodied linebacker who is way more valuable at stopping the run than he is stopping the pass. With the NFL moving to more of a passing league the need for a linebacker of his mold is less and less. While hes 30 years old now he could be a good depth signing for the Steelers. If nothing else he would be someone that could spell Vince Williams every so often to keep him fresh.

D’Qwell Jackson – Jackson was suspended for the last four games of the 2016 season and was released by the Colts in February after three seasons there. Jackson is 33 years old and is in the twilight of his career but he could benefit from a back-up role. Jackson hasn’t missed a game due to injury in six years. While his stats dipped in 2016 as a starter he wasn’t surrounded by very much talent. He led the Colts in tackles in 2014, and 2015 and if he was able to stay fresh in a back up role he could still have some value.

Daryl Washington – Washington was once a premier linebacker in the NFL but because of legal, and substance abuse issues he hasn’t played since 2013. He is also going to be 31 years old. Last month USA Today writer Tom Pelissero reported that Steelers outside linebacker coach Joey Porter had reached out to Washington. Porter and Washington were teammates in Arizona. Washington is the most intriguing, but he also comes with the most baggage. The Steelers have shown in the past they aren’t afraid to sign a player that has had legal issues but with Washington not having played a down in three years it seems unlikely.

Kelvin Sheppard
– Sheppard started 11 games last season for the Giants, but the Giants elected to go with former fourth round pick BJ Goodson at middle linebacker this year. Sheppard won the starting position right before the beginning of the season after an impressive preseason. Sheppard had over 100 tackles for the Dolphins two seasons ago. Sheppard should come on a veteran minimum deal and would immediately add experience behind starters Ryan Shazier and Williams.

Others – Erin Henderson, Justin Durant, Sean Weatherspoon, Brandon Spikes, and Akeem Dent

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