Minnesota Vikings safety Jayron Kearse was on our recent safety wishlist of players the Pittsburgh Steelers could – and should – take a look at during free agency. Now, it looks like he will in fact hit the open market. He made that pretty clear in a tweet he sent yesterday.
Beauty of social media.
We’re mentioning Kearse specifically because of the Steelers’ known interest in him coming out of Clemson. He was brought in for a pre-draft visit back in 2016. The team ultimately drafted Sean Davis in the 2nd round and Kearse tumbled down draft boards, waiting until deep into Round 7 to hear his name called.
Once in the NFL, he’s carved out a niche role as a safety/big slot option, making three official starts in 2019 with six pass breakups and an interception. Even if he had interest in returning to Minnesota, they’re tied up in trying to re-sign star safety Anthony Harris.
Kearse probably won’t cost the minimum but he if a new CBA gets passed (we may know its status as you’re reading this), the Steelers will likely have just enough cap flexibility to sign him to a relatively cheap, multi-year deal. Safety depth is invisible on the roster behind starters Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds. It’s a position the team should invest in and ideally, beyond just asking a rookie to be one snap away from becoming “the guy” at either spot.
There is a bit of a spotty off-field history with him, he was arrested in October for a DWI, and he’s potentially facing league discipline. Pittsburgh’s tended to stay away from recent draft picks and free agents with any sort of red flags but that fact will also help keep his market down and the Steelers need to find cheap, youthful talent in the worst way this offseason. That, of course, assumes the offseason starts on-time, which is looking more and more unlikely.