Depending on who you ask, it was a bit of a surprise when earlier this offseason the Pittsburgh Steelers elected to waive former 2017 seventh-round outside linebacker Keion Adams. The Western Michigan product spent his rookie season on injured reserve. After a decent preseason performance in 2018, he was placed on the practice squad.
Adams was waived after the draft as part of a flurry of transactions, which included among them the addition of college free agent rookie edge defender Tuzar Skipper out of Toledo, a college teammate of Olasunkanmi Adeniyi’s.
Adeniyi and now sixth-round pick Sutton Smith are what the Steelers have for the hope of the future of their depth at outside linebacker behind T.J. Watt as Bud Dupree gets one more chance to establish himself as a potential long-term starter, so many felt that Adams should have been a part of the young mix.
He’s not, at least for Pittsburgh, but perhaps he will now be in the mix for the New York Giants, who signed him yesterday. With one young linebacker suffering an injury, he was waived and replaced by Adams. With the Steelers, he had a former teammate in Chukwuma Okorafor. In New York, he will have Sam Beal.
The Giants have spent most of their recent history running a 4-3 defense. They had great success running it with their front four and produced a lot of talent from Hall of Famer Michael Strahan to Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and many others, not to mention interior defensive like Linval Joseph and Johnathan Hankins just in recent years.
But they moved to a 3-4 last year, and that has resulted in a lot of moving parts, including moving their two primary defensive ends, starting with Jason Pierre-Paul last year, going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and earlier this offseason, sending Olivier Vernon to the Cleveland Browns.
The Giants can use a lot of help right now at outside linebacker. They signed Markus Golden in free agency, and they are crossing their fingers that he can return to his pre-injury form. They did draft one as well, but there is an opportunity for him to potentially stick in New York.
That was looking less and less likely with the Steelers, who already had a strong top four that they are comfortable with for 2019 in Watt and Dupree as starters and Anthony Chickillo and Adeniyi behind them, with Smith working himself in.
The team is also interested in seeing with Skipper, the rookie free agent, and J.T. Jones, most recently out of the AAF, can contribute. They have already gotten two offseasons’ worth of looks at Adams, and they decided to look elsewhere, so that tells you enough about what they thought of his chances of making the roster.