The Pittsburgh Steelers are a notoriously quiet team in free agency. They prefer to make changes to their roster through the draft, developing players and then signing them to new deals. But, general manager Omar Khan has bucked that trend this offseason.
The Steelers addressed one of their biggest needs, the cornerback position, very early in the legal tampering period. They agreed to a two-year deal with veteran Patrick Peterson, who will help replace Cameron Sutton, who signed a three-year deal with the Detroit Lions.
Peterson gives them a veteran to rely on as a leader in the secondary along with Minkah Fitzpatrick. He is coming off one of the best seasons of his career with the Minnesota Vikings, so despite his age, he proved he has plenty left in the tank.
Another area of concern was the linebacker position. Devin Bush and Ryan Spillane were both free agents, and it doesn’t seem like the Steelers are going to retain Bush. Spillane signed a deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, leaving them in search of help at the position.
Pittsburgh has found capable replacements, dipping into free agency once again. The first signing that they made was Cole Holcomb, formerly of the Washington Commanders. The Steelers signed him to a three-year deal, showing a rather large commitment to him long-term.
Before getting hurt last season, Holcomb had totaled 69 tackles in seven games for the Commanders. He wore the green dot for their defense, so the Steelers are getting a player that could be a significant part of their plans going forward.
Holcomb isn’t the only linebacker joining the team as the Steelers also agreed to a deal with Elandon Roberts. Roberts has spent the last three seasons with the Miami Dolphins and is coming off a career year in which he totaled 107 tackles.
Both Holcomb and Roberts will help elevate the Steelers’ defense when it comes to their run defense. However, neither player is highly regarded in pass coverage, where Pittsburgh could use some help.
That could put more pressure on the secondary, specifically the safeties, to get more involved in the passing game. But, there is no denying that both Holcomb and Roberts can be viewed as upgrades for the team in what could be a very strong defensive unit.
To make room for the new linebacker duo, Pittsburgh also released linebacker Myles Jack, saving $8 million in the process. Jack was a splash signing by the Steelers last season after being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he didn’t have as big of an impact as the franchise had hoped he would.