Pittsburgh Steelers Urged To Sign Former All-Pro Defender

Pittsburgh Steelers
NFL Analysis Network

The Pittsburgh Steelers overcame some significant roster holes, especially at the quarterback position, to finish with a 10-7 record and make the playoffs last season. For this coming season, they have a future Hall of Famer in Russell Wilson under center, as well as Justin Fields, a man some still believe has potential, behind him.

The Steelers may not look like world-beaters on paper, but they do seem to have a definite playoff-caliber roster. George Pickens is a capable wide receiver, and their defense continues to look strong after finishing sixth in points allowed in 2023.

That defense is anchored by star pass rusher T.J. Watt, while safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Queen will also have to be accounted for.

But Pittsburgh could use one more reliable safety, and Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report urged it to consider signing Jamal Adams.

“After spending much of last season near the line of scrimmage and moving around the defense, Fitzpatrick should be back in a deep-safety role in 2024,” wrote Knox.

“… That should come as good news for Steelers fans. The bad news is that Pittsburgh doesn’t have a high-end box safety to play alongside Fitzpatrick. Damontae Kazee started nine games in 2023 but allowed an opposing passer rating of 114.1 in coverage. Miles Killebrew is best-cast as a special-teams contributor, while free-agent addition DeShon Elliott can also be a liability in coverage.

“Elliott allowed an opposing passer rating of 140.8 with the Miami Dolphins last season.

“Adding another safety before camp would be wise, and the Steelers do have options.

“… Jamal Adams is another intriguing option. Though coverage isn’t his strongest trait, he’s been a difference-making box safety in the past.”

The Steelers have multiple needs

Adams was released by the Seattle Seahawks, the team he has spent the last four seasons with, in March. Not too long ago, he made the Pro Bowl three straight times, and in 2020, he had 9.5 sacks, 14 quarterback hits, 11 tackles for loss and 83 tackles (59 solo) in just 12 games.

He has struggled with injuries since, and he played in just nine games in 2023 while posting 48 tackles (34 solo) and seven tackles for loss.

Perhaps Adams would be a serviceable and inexpensive option for a Steelers team that is hoping to capture lightning in a bottle and give itself a puncher’s chance at reaching the Super Bowl while the 35-year-old Wilson is still capable of playing at a high level.

At the same time, another legitimate threat at wide receiver alongside Pickens is at least as big a need as another productive safety. There have been rumors the Steelers have asked about the availability of San Francisco 49ers wideout Brandon Aiyuk, but all appearances indicate Aiyuk and the 49ers want to get an extension done so he would stay put in the Bay.

The pickings in free agency as far as wide receivers are concerned seem slim, unless Pittsburgh feels the oft-injured Michael Thomas will return to form.

Thus, Pittsburgh will likely have to lean on its defense one again to get to the playoffs and do something of note there.

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