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Steelers Insider Suggests Team Should Continue Adding To The #1 Highest Paid Defense In The NFL

USA Today

Steelers Insider Suggests Team Should Continue Adding To The #1 Highest Paid Defense In The NFL

Pittsburgh Steelers insider Tim Benz suggested this week that the Steelers shouldn’t stop with the signing of DT Larry Ogunjobi and that they should add another position via free agency to this defense.

If one is good, more must be better! — Is the general sentiment.

Benz’s idea of what to do next is simple.

“Sign another guy on defense. Specifically, an outside linebacker. Another version of Melvin Ingram, except one that actually wants to be here.

As I’ve recently stated, I don’t care about the offense-defense pay gap. There is no salary cap for each individual side of the ball. I’m glad they signed Ogunjobi. After what happened last year along the defensive line without Stephon Tuitt, I embrace the notion of building depth there.

And I feel the same way about the outside linebacker position. We also saw how much the Steelers defense struggled when T.J. Watt was out. He missed two full games (the home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and the road defeat at the Los Angeles Chargers) due to injury, and he either played hurt through games (like the regular-season losses in Green Bay and Kansas City) or missed chunks of a few more with in-game injuries (like the losses to the Las Vegas Raiders and Minnesota Vikings).”

Benz makes an interesting point. The Steelers did struggle with outside linebacker depth last year after Ingram and the team parted ways. This offseason they brought back Tuzar Skipper, but Skipper was waived twice by the Steelers and failed to catch on with the Giants, Falcons, and Titans. Having only played 10 NFL games with 2 starts, he isn’t much more than a depth signing at this point. The Steelers also bring back Derrek Tuszka who is, as yet, unproven. He showed a little bit of promise during limited playing time last year, but nothing beyond that.

Steelers Teryl Austin

Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant/secondary coach Teryl Austin calls a coverage during the first practice session at training camp at St. Vincent College on Friday, July. 26, 2019 in Latrobe. Barry Reeger | Special to PennLive

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin told Benz during minicamp.

“You are always looking to strengthen your team…So if there is somebody out there that can strengthen us, just like we did with Melvin last year, then we will bring him in. Until then, we will work and coach the guys we have and see what happens and go from there.”

The Rule of 3

Well it’s not really a rule but it’s a nice to have. It’s nice to have a 3rd Outside linebacker who was, is or could be a viable starter at any moment. In 2020 the Steelers had Bud Dupree, TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith. Highsmith would take over the starting role one year later when Dupree departed. That is when Ingram was brought in, a terrific signing but someone who wasn’t content with his role with the team. If Skipper or Tuszka work out, which is entirely possible, then great. But I agree with Benz that the Steelers could look to add an extra body at the OLB position.

OLD Isn’t The Steelers Only Area Of Need

I wouldn’t stop at just the OLB position, the Steelers could also use depth at the corner back position. Enter Joe Haden. Haden was a solid corner, who loved his time with the Steelers. He is also a free agent, with not much interest at the moment.

Steelers Joe Haden

Joe Haden stops the Titans short on fourth down to end their comeback at Heinz Field // AP

The Steelers would be wise to make him an offer sooner rather than later. Haden is probably past his starting days in a black and gold uniform. Those duties will likely fall to Cam Sutton, Ahkello Witherspoon and Levi Wallace. But the Steelers defense has been no stranger to injury, and just behind Witherspoon on the left side is Justin Layne. A promising draft pick out of Michigan State in 2019, he has vet to catch on with the team. Baring an outstanding training camp, a return of Haden would be the best option?

What do yinz think? Should the Steelers add another piece to the defense? Should the Steelers look to bring back Joe Haden before he becomes a Brown?

Let us know in the comments below!



Born in Western Pa, I've been a diehard Steelers fan since the days of Bubby Brister. I've been to Steeler bars from Boston to New York and from London to Rome. Nowadays I live in the great state of New Jersey. With a Steelers flag out front and raising two little Steelers fans inside with my beautiful wife.

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