PFF Tabs Steelers As Reasonable Landing Spot For Veteran EDGE Kyle Van Noy Following 2023 NFL Draft

With the bulk of free agency and the annual NFL Draft now over with, the Pittsburgh Steelers could still add a few players to their offseason 90-man roster. In fact, it’s still plausible that veteran free agents could be added between now and the start of the team’s OTA practices, or even later than that. Recently, Pro Football Focus (PFF) speculated that the Steelers could look at signing veteran free agent edge rusher Kyle Van Noy to provide experienced depth behind starting outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith.

“The Steelers are set with their starters at edge and made a shrewd draft selection in Wisconsin’s Nick Herbig, who profiles as a similar player to Van Noy,” writes PFF’s Brad Spielberger. “Still, Van Noy could be a nice rotational piece for the Steelers, as he also has the flexibility to play some off-ball linebacker — which isn’t a super deep position group for Pittsburgh.”

While a Van Noy addition to the Steelers might sound great in theory, the team probably would likely only want to spend very limited money to sign an experienced player such as him to serve as a backup. It is worth noting, however, that the one-year contract that Van Noy signed with the Chargers last year had a total value of just $2.25 million with just $750,000 of that being fully guaranteed in a signing bonus. The Steelers could certainly swing another one-year deal such as that one.

While Van Noy is now 32 years of age, it’s not like he wasn’t productive last season as he registered 46 tackles, five sacks, nine quarterback hits, three defensed passes, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries as a member of the Chargers. He’s also registered an average of 5.25 sacks per season over the course of the last six, which isn’t too shabby overall. Last season, he logged 734 total defensive snaps played and he’s registered over 700 in total in each of his last six seasons.

Assuming Van Noy would accept a backup role in Pittsburgh behind Watt and Highsmith, he would seem to be a great fit on paper and in theory. It would make the Steelers outside linebacker depth chart look a lot better than it does coming out of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Currently, the Steelers outside linebacker depth chart behind Watt and Highsmith includes Quincy Roche, Emeke Egbule, David Perales and Herbig, with the two latter players being rookies. Additionally, it will be interesting to see if the Steelers now consider second-year player DeMarvin Leal more of an outside linebacker than a defensive lineman as the summer progresses. Even if Leal is included in that group of five players, the collective NFL snap experience of them all is minimal.

In closing, Spielberger’s suggestion for Van Noy to the Steelers seems like a plausible one. The team could still stand to add a veteran to that outside linebacker room as the summer progresses and they could do worse in a player such as Van Noy. If ultimately signed, hopefully Van Noy wouldn’t pull what veteran outside linebacker Melvin Ingram did a few years ago. Ingram essentially forced his way out of Pittsburgh ahead of the 2021 trade deadline after seemingly being unhappy with his role as a backup to Watt and Highsmith.

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