Heading into a Week 4 matchup against the Green Bay Packers, the Pittsburgh Steelers currently sit with a 1-2 record following back to back uninspiring performances.
The Steelers currently have a luxury they normally don’t have at this point in the season, and that is ample cap space. They currently sit at just under $11 million to work with for the rest of the year.
When you look at both those previous statements, a lot of SteelerNation has been calling for the Steelers to make a move to provide an immediate impact to the roster. At this point in the season there aren’t usually many players that can provide an immediate and substantial impact quickly.
However, there are still some players at positions that could help the Steelers turn their season around. Below are three players who could improve the overall talent on the roster, and do it rather quickly.
Kawann Short, DT
When looking through this list, I am sure most of SteelerNation aren’t expecting to see many defensive players on this list, especially not one listed first. While this may not be the Steelers biggest need overall, Short is someone who could make one of the most immediate impacts at suddenly a somewhat thin position for the Steelers.
The Steelers currently are without Carlos Davis in addition to having both Tyson Alualu and Stephon Tuitt being out for the foreseeable future. That leaves the Steelers without three of their defensive lineman currently who they were expecting to contribute. Short would be able to come in and immediately assist both against the run and the pass, as he possesses very good pass rush moves in addition to being a very strong force in the middle of the defense.
Short was released by the Carolina Panthers this off-season after missing the majority of the last two seasons with injuries. A no-brainer move by them that saved them over $14 million against the salary cap. Short is now fully healthy and the reason he hasn’t signed is likely because he was hoping to get more money than what teams were offering, but now that the season has started, his asking price should be considerably lower as he risks being out of the league if he is off a roster the entire 2021 season.
Russell Okung, OT
Here is a name that will excite people. It is no secret the Steelers are currently struggling with poor offensive line play which may be the biggest reason why their offense is struggling. They are expected to get some help here soon with Zach Banner returning to practice this week, but he is only able to play one of the five positions at a time, meaning it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Steelers to look for additional assistance.
Okung played last season for the Panthers as well, starting seven games at left tackle while battling through a calf injury. Even at less than 100%, Okung was one of the better pass blockers in the league while also providing a boost to the run game. Similar to Short, Okung was also holding out hoping he would get a substantial offer from an offensive line needy team this off-season, but that never materialized.
With 4th round rookie Dan Moore Jr. being inconsistent through the first three weeks, Okung should be able to provide an immediate boost to the Steelers offense. A move like this would also likely help Moore’s development, as learning from one of the league’s premier left tackles from the past decade is never a bad thing.
Virgil Green, TE
Green is not a name a lot of fans are going to be super excited about, but he is someone that can help the Steelers offense in more ways than one. When people do their research into Green, they see he possesses very good speed (4.55s 40-yard dash) and is a big bodied target. However, he has never been a significant contributor to a team’s passing game with the most receptions in a year for Green being 22.
Green makes his primary contributions as a blocker, as he excels both blocking in the run game as well as in pass protection. Throughout his 10 year career, he has been given consistent playing time due to his blocking prowess, and that is something the Steelers could definitely use. We all are aware of the issues Eric Ebron has as a blocker, and rookie Pat Freiermuth has shown to be willing, yet inconsistent as a blocker through three weeks.
In addition to being a very good blocker, Green also has a lot of experience on special teams playing more than 1,000 snaps on special teams throughout his career. While a lot of those snaps came earlier in his NFL tenure, he still contributed for the Los Angeles Chargers in a minor special teams role last season.
While these three players are all over 30 years old and are far from perfect players, they all possess attributes that could definitely help contribute to the Steelers having success in the immediate future.
Let us know below what you think about the potential of the Steelers bringing in some free agents to assist with their current struggles!