With free agency already beginning soon, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a bevy of needs to fill. While the emphasis is on landing a big name, they also need to round out their roster with some quality players. Here we’ll look at the four best players that the Steelers have to target during 2023 NFL Free Agency right now.
Remember that the Steelers found themselves in an unprecedented situation going into the 2022 NFL season. They had Ben Roethlisberger not starting as quarterback for the first time in 18 years. Despite a respectable 9-8 record, the team’s late-season winning streak was not enough to secure a playoff spot. Their final position in the standings has also affected their draft prospects for 2023, currently placing them at No. 17.
Adding to the challenge, the Steelers have limited cap space of $11.10 million for the upcoming season. However, the team can still take action to free up additional funds, such as restructuring contracts. Take note that this is a common practice among other teams leading up to the NFL free agency period starting on March 15. The Steelers will likely have to do that if they hope to bring in big players this offseason.
Let’s look at the four best players that the Pittsburgh Steelers have to target during 2023 NFL free agency.
In a move to reduce their salary, the Los Angeles Rams surprisingly released LB Bobby Wagner after only one season. As a result, Wagner is surveying the free agent market for linebackers and the teams that may be interested in signing him. Maybe we’ll see him back with the Seattle Seahawks, especially with his 10-year history with the team. However, we hope the Steelers make a big run at him.
Remember that Wagner’s next contract could be the last for the 32-year-old. That’s even if he has not shown any signs of slowing down, having played in all 17 games for the Rams last season and making notable contributions. His versatility on the field could be an asset for the Steelers and help alleviate some of the defensive frustrations of head coach Mike Tomlin.
The Steelers require an edge rusher who is not named TJ Watt. This is where Yannick Ngakoue comes in. He could fit the bill as one of the NFL’s most underrated defensive players. Ngakoue’s talent for pressuring the quarterback would deter teams from consistently double-teaming Watt. This potentially allows him to face one-on-one matchups. With both Ngakoue and Watt as pass rushers, the Steelers would be a formidable force in disrupting opposing backfields. They could establish themselves as one of the most intimidating pass-rushing units in the league.
Yannick Ngakoue already has 2 sacks!🚀🚀🚀🔥🔥🔥
— OutOfSightSports🚀™️ (@OOSSports) November 29, 2022
3. Jarvis Landry
One of the priorities for the Steelers during the offseason is to acquire a reliable slot receiver. Although Calvin Austin can fill this role, QB Kenny Pickett requires another dependable option. One potential candidate is Jarvis Landry, who is one of the best slot receivers available. Despite having a 2022 poor season, remember that Landry was not given many opportunities in the Saints’ offense.
He is a skilled route runner with excellent hands and the ability to elude defenders in open space. Although he is not the fastest receiver around, Landry has still managed to have a successful career due to his other strengths. As he ages, he can still be a valuable player as his game does not rely on exceptional speed.
Landry could fill the slot receiver role and provide a reliable option for the Steelers. Although the team may utilize other players in this position, he could serve as a tenacious threat in the middle of the field and a solid possession receiver. He may also not be very expensive to acquire, but he could greatly benefit Pickett and the Steelers by providing another reliable receiving target.
4. Orlando Brown, Jr.
Again, it is crucial to prioritize the pass protection of Pickett in 2023. The Steelers can do this by heavily investing in the offensive line. Orlando Brown Jr. could be the ideal candidate for the job. This is especially given his excellent performance alongside the Kansas City Chiefs’ o-line in Super Bowl LVII against a tough Philadelphia Eagles pass rush. Brown Jr. could bring his championship-winning experience to Pittsburgh and secure the left tackle position.
Of course, as he is one of the best offensive tackles in the market, Brown’s services come with a considerable price tag. However, the Steelers should not hesitate to go after him. Recall that they may have a chance to sign him since the Chiefs did not place the franchise tag on him. While other teams, such as the 49ers, have already secured their left tackle position, the Steelers should still try their luck to sign Brown.