2023 Stock Watch – OLB Malik Reed – Sold

With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we have turned our attention to the offseason. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.

Player: OLB Malik Reed

Stock Value: Sold

Reasoning: Reed spent just seven months in Pittsburgh from the time he was traded for just before the start of the regular season to the end of the league year earlier this month. He signed a one-year, veteran-minimum deal to join the Miami Dolphins, where he will be reunited with Vic Fangio and Bradley Chubb.

The Denver Broncos signed Malik Reed as a college free agent in 2019. They tendered him as a restricted free agent in 2022, which would have paid him $2,433,000 if he were to have made the roster. They did not intend to carry him, however, and so they worked out a trade.

The Steelers were not willing to take on his full salary, so instead of being released, Reed agreed to adjust his salary to $1.5 million, which wasn’t far behind from doubling his career earnings over his first three seasons.

Yet he had arguably his worst season in spite of the fact that he still managed to play nearly 400 snaps across 14 games. He was benched at the end of the season, and not in favor, necessarily, of another linebacker, but rather an extra defensive lineman.

Reed finished the season with 25 tackles, including just one for loss, with one sack, four hits, and two passes defensed. He had at least five sacks in each of his previous two seasons with the Broncos, including eight in 2020.

In his defense, his late addition gave him little time to adjust to fit the Steelers’ scheme, and he was called upon almost immediately with T.J. Watt suffering a pectoral injury in the opener. It’s likely that the Steelers had to ask him to take on more than they intended too soon.

Pittsburgh retains Jamir Jones, who started to play ahead of Reed by the end of the year, behind starters Watt and Alex Highsmith. They reportedly intend to bring in former starter Bud Dupree for a visit, and he should be a significant upgrade as a third pass rusher if signed.

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