Grading the first wave of Steelers free agency
We have reached the weekend and the first wave of NFL free agency is in the books. The Pittsburgh Steelers were patient but active, making multiple signings with the goal of quick improvement on both sides of the football. Here are our grades so far.
Losing Cam Sutton
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This one hurts. Pittsburgh drafted and developed Sutton only to let him sign elsewhere when he was just hitting his stride. I understand the NFL is a business but I’d have loved to see Pittsburgh keep Sutton in the fold.
Signing CB Patrick Peterson
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Patrick Peterson’s resume speaks for itself. Is he an upgrade over Sutton? It remains to be seen but even if he is a slight step backward, it was a smart signing from a financial standpoint and gives Pittsburgh stability at the position.
Re-signing S Damontae Kazee
(AP Photo/Matt Durisko)
Damontae Kazee missed much of the 2022 season but he did show enough when he returned to warrant a new contract. Signing Kazee doesn’t mean the Steelers won’t bring Terrell Edmunds back but it gives Pittsburgh that all-important third safety.
Re-signing DT Larry Ogunjobi
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This move is under-the-radar nationally but vital to the Steelers success. Ogunjobi came into his own and quickly became a leader on the defense. His production didn’t always show up in the boxscore but this signing was a must.
Signing G Nate Herbig
(AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
It is unfortunate the Steelers are even in a position to need another left guard but Kevin Dotson and Kedrick Green couldn’t do the things the Steelers needed last season. Nate Herbig is an old-school guy and according to fans is a very good football player. As long as he’s an upgrade over Dotson, this move works.
Cleaning house at inside linebacker
(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
It had to be done and Pittsburgh was thorough. The Steelers let Robert Spillane and Devin Bush sign with other teams and then followed it up by cutting Myles Jack. It’s hard to say if the inside linebackers are better but this was a huge move.
Signing LB Cole Holcomb
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If he’s healthy, Cole Holcomb should be a great addition to the Steelers defense. Before his foot injury in 2022, Holcomb was coming along quickly as one of the most athletic and productive inside linebackers in the league. Pittsburgh hasn’t had great luck with free-agent inside linebackers but maybe Holcomb breaks the streak.
Signing LB Elandon Roberts
Similar to Holcomb, Roberts is a free-agent addition to a position where Pittsburgh has struggled. Roberts feels more like a lateral signing to the release of Myles Jack and if it means the Steelers don’t draft an inside linebacker with elite athleticism it won’t feel like a productive move.