The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Melvin Ingram to a one-year, $4 million last month. But they evidently came close to signing another veteran pass rusher. Justin Houston ultimately picked the Baltimore Ravens but today, told reporters he was “so close” to signing with the Steelers.
That’s what Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweeted out a short time ago.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the Steelers show serious interest in Houston so this story checks out. Ultimately, Houston inked a deal with Pittsburgh’s biggest rivals for about similar money. As he says in Zrebiec’s tweet, the Ravens were his first choice. Whether that was because Houston liked his opportunity or chance to win better in Pittsburgh than Baltimore is unclear.
Houston, 32, was one of the game’s most dominant edge rushers early in his career. In 2014, he led the NFL in sacks with 22 and almost broke the league’s single-season sack record. He’s spent his last two seasons with the Colts, starting all 32 games and recording 19 sacks. A more proven pass rusher as of late than Ingram, who battled injuries last season and failed to record a sack, though he had a healthy amount of pressures. For his career, Houston has 97.5 sacks. By comparison, Ingram has just 49.
It’s more proof of the Steelers willingness to break their “rule” of no defenders over the age of 30. Kevin Colbert hadn’t signed one in 20 years. But the team showed interest in Ryan Kerrigan, signed Melvin Ingram, and took a long look at Houston. All three players are well into their 30s. Pittsburgh knew they needed better depth and a stronger EDGE rotation behind Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt.
So instead of playing with the Steelers, he’ll face them at least twice this season. And we’ll see who got the better deal. Pittsburgh with Ingram or Baltimore with Houston.