Player: Arthur Moats
Position: Outside Linebacker
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2017 Salary Cap Hit: $2,500,000
2017 Season Breakdown:
Arthur Moats spent his fourth season in Pittsburgh, and his eighth in the league altogether, frankly not doing all too much. While he has been a starter in the past for the defense, including in spurts in each season from 2014 to 2016, that was never the case last season, and he only played several dozen snaps defensively all season, registering a whopping eight tackles.
Interestingly enough, Pro Football Focus was not exactly down on him. According to their tracking, Moats recorded four pressures on just 26 pass-rush snaps, which was a better rate than T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, and Anthony Chickillo, though the sample size prevents us from saying anything meaningful about it.
They have him down for 18 snaps in coverage as well, against two targets. He allowed one reception, which went for 37 yards, including 36 yards after the catch. This occurred in the Week 14 game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Because he played very little, there is understandably a great deal to say about his 2017 season, which obviously was a contract year in order for it to be included in this column. But he has been a serviceable rotational player and spot starter over the previous three seasons, totaling 11 and a half sacks in that span.
Free Agency Outlook:
There should not exactly be a robust market for Moats, who is hoping to enter his ninth season in the NFL and will be 30 years old when he does so. After spending his first four seasons in various roles with the Bills, he stuck in Pittsburgh for another four years and has been a good teammate, but far from an irreplaceable player on the field.
Chances are good that a team looking to sign Moats might be more interested in him for special teams and in the locker room rather than as a true edge rusher. They may even weigh his purported versatility to play both outside and inside, and in a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme at linebacker.
Most likely, he will be looking at a one-year, veteran-minimum qualifying contract that will pay him whatever the going rate is for an eight-year veteran, which would come with a reduced cap it. With regard to the Steelers, while I’m sure they would love to have him in the locker room, they know that changes at outside linebacker are necessary, so I would not expect him back in Pittsburgh, though it is possible.