The Pittsburgh Steelers still have a long way to go before they really know and understand what they have at outside linebacker, at least behind their starters, though both of them are still growing, ascending players as well. They lack in proven commodities, but are hoping to find that proof later this year on the roster.
Because of the lack of sure things, the name of Arthur Moats continues to come up here and there. Moats spent the past four years with the Steelers and remains a free agent after the team failed to re-sign him this offseason.
A while back, Moats visited with the Atlanta Falcons, and at the time Jeremy Fowler indicated that the Steelers told the linebacker they would leave the door open for a possible return. That was before the draft, and then they didn’t use any draft picks on the position.
Behind T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree is Anthony Chickillo returning from last season, heading into his fourth year. There is last season’s seventh-round pick, Keion Adams, with the best chance to make the roster as a fourth guy right now.
Behind him, there is Farrington Huguenin and Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, the two players on the roster arguably with the most troublesome names to memorize and spell consistently, though Chukwuma Okorafor is also in the mix. Just for good measure, let’s flash back to Chris Fuamatu Ma’afala.
Anyway, without the presence of a pedigreed or proven player in the pipeline, one does have to wonder if they could still be looking at bringing Moats back. Gerry Dulac doesn’t expect that to happen, however, responding to a question about that topic in a recent chat with a simple and succinct “nope”.
Of course, that doesn’t particularly mean anything. It’s just his educated guess, like everybody else’s. the Steelers just wrapped up OTAs, and still have mandatory minicamp to get through. They can take the time leading into the break before training camp to review what they witnessed during early spring practices to determine if they feel they need additional help at the position.
Whether it’s Moats or somebody else—I’m sure the popular vote would be “somebody else”—I gather that most would argue that the Steelers still need help at outside linebacker. It was a position marked as a need heading into the draft, and then they didn’t address it until after the draft with a college free agent.
Still it’s worth noting that Moats was a very valuable player in the locker room, and more than one teammate has expressed the belief that the Steelers will miss him in that respect. Chances are he could easily be re-signed for a veteran-minimum contract with little to no signing bonus, considering he has remained unsigned now for going on three months.