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Monday, March 24, 2014

Steelers add linebacker depth

The Steelers signed Buffalo free agent linebacker Arthur Moats on Monday, barely getting him in the door at the team facility before coming to an agreement on a one-year deal.

Moats, a starter at weakside linebacker for the Bills in 2013, has good speed -he ran in the 4.6s at the NFL combine - and  size at 6-2, 250. He can play inside or outside, giving the Steelers some much-needed depth.

In 2013, Moats, a former sixth-round pick of the Bills, had 54 tackles.

His signing would appear to bring to an end any thoughts by the team of bringing James Harrison back.

That's probably not a bad thing. At 26, Moats is 10 years younger than Harrison and will give the team far more flexibility on game days because he can also play special teams.

It will be interesting to see if he can push or beat out Vince Williams for a starting spot at inside linebacker, or if that's even in the cards.

Moats is considered a good locker room guy and is very active in the community.

@ The Steelers have pushed running back LeGarrette Blount's visit to Friday when Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and Art Rooney II return from the owners meetings.

The Steelers don't appear to be in a real hurry to sign a backup running back. That is one position where it is very easy for a rookie to come in and contribute greatly right away.

@ The Steelers received a third, fifth and sixth round draft pick in the compensatory draft.

The third rounder was expected for Mike Wallace, as was a fifth for Keenan Lewis. The sixth was a little unexpected. I had guessed they'd get a seventh, if anything.

Pittsburgh now has nine picks in this year's draft.


Anonymous said...

If Tomlin, Colbert, and Rooney are all out of town, who met with Moats and made that decision. Kinda odd.

Bobyefer said...

This is good move to a man of good character and talent. He'll be a great fit. Please stay away from Duce Staley II...MDJ

Anonymous said...

I don't know what's going on over there. Bouchette said they missed out on James Starks when they pushed back his visit so they could go to Pirates spring training!

Colin said...

James Starks scheduled a visit, used it for leverage, signed with GB, canceled the visit. If Ed says they missed out because of spring training, he was probably joking. He does that, and people freak out.

Tomlin and Colbert have made a few shoddy decisions but they are not incompetent. It's a bit nuts how eager some people are to believe the worst.

As for Moats, I believe I read they had met with him previously. Or perhaps they heard such good things and had met with him coming out of college that they didn't think they needed a meeting. During the season they sign street free agents without meetings at times -- I think that's how they first nabbed Al Woods.

Anonymous said...

How does signing a guy with 5 career sacks remove the need to sign Deebo?

Anonymous said...

"How does signing a guy with 5 career sacks remove the need to sign Deebo?"

Money? A spot on the team? The spot is for a backup not a starter so it isn't that big of a deal he only has 5 sacks. As Dale mentioned, Moats is 10 years younger, can play both linebacker positions, and most importantly for a backup - play on special teams.

rvaccare said...

I thought I read that Moats was signed to play inside LB. If so, who cares how many sacks he has accumulated. He is getting paid to stuff the run, not rush the passer. They have others who get paid to do that. Is Timmons a bad ILB because he has not amassed a ton of sacks in his career?

Noel said...

I like them keeping Harrison on speed dial. If someone goes down with an injury in preseason he can step in with almost no learning curve and you know he keeps himself in tip-top shape. Maybe they draft a LB who will need reps and maybe they don't but either way it isn't a pressing issue to get James Harrison under contract. I'd like to see him back for another season but not at the expense of eating into someone else's time who needs to prove himself and develop. Harrison had that chance and has proven himself. Having him in the wings is a great fallback option.

marc said...

great pickup for the steelers. younger, athletic run stuffer for a 3-4 defense that struggled against the rush who can compete for a starting spot. really, how can anyone have a problem with that?

welcome to steeler nation mr. moats.

Anonymous said...

My point with the 5 sacks is they still only have 1 proven pass rusher at lb.

marc said...

I don't think any team will ever enter the season with zero uncertainties or holes to fill. in this case, the steelers will have worilds (8 sacks in 11 starts) and heyward (5 sacks as a DE) as their best pass rushers returning.

to round that out they have a high quality 1st round pick entering his second year. I think that is a good way to address the uncertainty. imo, he will be a very good player in the league, as long as he gets stronger. his motor is great, he appears to have good instincts and a great attitude. I think the steelers are counting on him to be much more productive this season.

I would prefer this route than bringing back a 36 year old who no longer has the burst and/or quickness from his glory days.

Dale Lolley said...

Position coach and DC. They wanted Moats, so the decision was an easy one. They're deciding between running backs.

And they didn't go to Florida to go to Pirates Spring training. They were there for Florida and Florida State pro days. So it was a business trip and they went to see the Pirates in between.

Dale Lolley said...

Moats was signed for OLB depth but can also play inside. They like to take weakside guys and move them inside since that's a chase the play down the line position.

I might add that since Buffalo played a 4-3, Moats likely didn't get a lot of chances to rush the passer.

Anonymous said...

I think Moats is the guy that ended Favre's consecutive starts streak?

Nick C said...

"Alan Robinson @arobinson_Trib

Steelers likely to have deal with experienced running back by end of week."

This coupled with the fact a report in NY Daily News that MJD is scheduled to meet with the Steelers again makes it sound like the signing is more of a possibility than I thought.

Anonymous said...

MJD wants $3.5m/y. Probably not a coincidence that that is exactly what the guy who replaced him in Jacksonville got. Guessing that figure came straight from his ego. Needs to put that aside, as the market just isn't there anymore for RBs. Especially high mileage ones.

Depends on which MJD they think they're getting. The one from 2011 or the one from last year. He had brief flashes last year, but was along persistently nicked up too. But I dunno if I'd spend more than 1 year $1.5m on him.

marc said...

reports are that Carrington signed with the rams. I wonder if his injury scared the steelers away? unless they find another FA defensive end, that puts DE back into the draft conversation for higher rounds, imo anyways.

regarding RB, I don't care who they get for depth as long as he can do 3 things: pass protect, run hard, and catch the ball out of the backfield.

marc said...

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on aaron Donald, if possible. some say he is versatile enough to play DT in the 4-3 or DE in a 3-4. I've seen some say could transition to 3-4 OLB as well. I have also seen mock drafts anywhere from round 3 to the 8th overall pick. it's amazing how across the board opinions can be.

is he the real deal, or simply a very good/productive college player who will struggle with the size of NFL sized offensive linemen?

Anonymous said...

34 43 is increasingly irrelevant in today's Nfl. Nickel/dime is the new base for all. IMO, they're now looking for players who are interchangeable at DE and NT, that way they can go with a rotation and bounce between whatever package without making wholesale changes with guys who can play in any pack.

Dale Lolley said...

I don't see Donald as a fit at all for the 3-4 because of his lack of height. He could do it in a pinch, but I wouldn't spend a first-round pick on him to do so. He fits better in an attacking 4-3.

As for moving him to OLB, I just don't see that. People complained about Woodley's weight. Donald is the same height and 15 pounds heavier. Plus, he's got short arms.

I wouldn't want to ask a defensive tackle who has never dropped into coverage to do so. Many defensive ends have dropped at some point in their career.