Veteran Free-Agent Contracts Steelers Must Consider Before Training Camp

Jake RillJune 26, 2023

Veteran Free-Agent Contracts Steelers Must Consider Before Training Camp

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    Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Omar Khan watches the team go through drills during practice at NFL football training camp in the Latrobe Memorial Stadium in Latrobe, Pa., Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
    AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

    The Pittsburgh Steelers haven't made any huge splashy free-agent signings this offseason. That's unlikely to change. However, the team filled some of its biggest needs (particularly on defense) by bringing in some quality veteran players to take over important roles.

    Although the Steelers probably won't make any huge moves before the beginning of training camp next month, they could still add another free agent or two. They have the financial flexibility to do so, with $13.25 million in available cap space (per Over The Cap).

    So perhaps Pittsburgh's camp roster will feature at least one player not currently under contract. If that's the case, who could it be?

    Here's a look at several free agents the Steelers may want to consider signing.

Kyle Van Noy, LB

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    Los Angeles Chargers outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy (8) rushes around the edge during an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)
    AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

    Pittsburgh could benefit from adding a bit more depth at linebacker, either on the outsides or in the middle. Kyle Van Noy has experience at both, which is why it could make a ton of sense for the Steelers to sign the 32-year-old with nine seasons of NFL experience.

    Van Noy has bounced around quite a bit in recent years. He's played for the Detroit Lions (2014-16), the New England Patriots (2016-19, 2021), the Miami Dolphins (2020) and the Los Angeles Chargers (2022). But he's been a solid contributor everywhere he's gone.

    Last year, Van Noy had 46 tackles and five sacks in 17 games (13 of which were starts) in his lone season with the Chargers. It marked the fifth time in the past six years that he finished a season with at least five sacks.

    While Pittsburgh already has a strong pass rush, the addition of Van Noy could make it even better. And if the team needed to, it could even slide him inside for another option there.

Yannick Ngakoue, DE

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 17: Yannick Ngakoue #91 of the Indianapolis Colts stands between plays in the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 17, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
    Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

    Yannick Ngakoue has been a consistently strong pass rusher throughout his seven-year NFL career. Over 110 games, the 28-year-old has recorded 65 sacks, notching at least eight every season that he's played.

    Yet, Ngakoue has switched teams quite a bit. In fact, he's played for five teams over the past four seasons: the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens, Las Vegas Raiders and Indianapolis Colts. Perhaps the Steelers could be the next team to join that list.

    Sure, Pittsburgh has T.J. Watt and numerous other solid players on the edges. But it can't hurt to add another player to the rotation, especially when it's somebody the caliber of Ngakoue.

    If the market for Ngakoue remains slow, maybe the Steelers could get him on a cost-effective deal. They could greatly boost their defense and might not even have to spend much to do so.

Jarvis Landry, WR

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25: Jarvis Landry (5) of the New Orleans Saints lines up and awaits the snap during a football game between the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints on Sep 25, 2022, at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Pittsburgh's receiving corps has a ton of potential. Players such as George Pickens and Calvin Austin III should only improve with more experience. So should Diontae Johnson, the team's No. 1 WR. And Allen Robinson II could be a bounce-back candidate in 2023.

    However, it's always nice as a team to have a lot of receiving depth, just in case players either get hurt or underperform. That's why the Steelers could be wise to add one more proven veteran to the group, and Jarvis Landry may be a good one to target.

    Landry should be willing to sign at a low cost, considering he's coming off a tough 2022 season in which he played only nine games for the New Orleans Saints because of an ankle injury. He wasn't too effective when he was on the field, either, recording only 25 catches for 272 yards and one touchdown.

    Still, Pittsburgh may benefit from adding a low-risk, high-reward receiver such as Landry. And if it doesn't work out, then the team at least wouldn't have committed a ton of money to him.