Focus Now Turns To Safety Depth As Interested Parties Wait And See

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a significant move yesterday to shore up one of their weakest positions on the roster, in terms of depth, when they reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with free agent edge defender Melvin Ingram worth $4 million.

While he is not being brought in as a needed starter, the departures of Bud Dupree and Ola Adeniyi this offseason left the team with little in the way of depth at the all-important defensive position, being T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, the latter heading into his first season as a starter.

With that key depth secured, though, it will only put the spotlight more heavily on the lack of depth at safety. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds are a solid starting combo, but they don’t even have Sean Davis anymore as the reserve.

Pittsburgh has previously visited with area native Malik Hooker as a potential fill-in, but no signing ever came of it. He continues to remain unsigned, but now as much as ever, Steelers fans are wondering if he’ll be brought in.

Whether related or not, Hooker posted on Twitter yesterday sometime following the Ingram news, saying essentially that it’s not as simple as some fans seem to think when it comes to signing up with a team. You can’t just show up and say “I’ll be there Monday”.

Naturally, a number of Steelers fans replied and said something to the effect of, ‘see you Thursday’, which is when Pittsburgh opens training camp. To one such comment, he replied to say “we will see”, adding that he’s ready.

Of course, at this point, he’s ready to sign with any of the 32 teams in the NFL. Everybody will be in camp over the course of the next two weeks, and he is without a contract. Anybody who gives him a fair offer and opportunity would be one he has to strongly consider.

But it would be nice for both parties if it could line up in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are in need of safety depth, and Hooker would be a welcome signing. As an area native, and surely a fan as well, he wouldn’t mind playing for his local team, either.

Whether this particular pairing ultimately works out, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if the Steelers add a veteran safety before the regular season begins. As of now, their top backup is arguably Antoine Brooks Jr., a 2020 sixth-round pick who spent most of last season on the practice squad and is competing for the nickel role.

Arthur Maulet is another possibility as a versatile veteran who Pittsburgh signed shortly before the draft, but he feels more like a Curtis Riley than a Sean Davis, the former of whom was waived last season when the latter became available. Otherwise, their options are seventh-round or undrafted rookies in Tre Norwood, Lamont Wade, and Donovan Stiner.

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