The Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 free agency wish list

As free agency is officially underway, the madness has already begun. I honestly cannot recall the last time there were this many huge moves in a free agency period in the NFL. Many teams are breaking the bank to help revitalize their rosters, most notably our AFC North opponent, the Cleveland Browns.

Obviously, the Steelers are not as desperate for a rebuild as the Browns, but there are still some areas in which they can improve. In past years, Pittsburgh has not been known to be a big spender in the free agency market. However, if they decide to change their minds this year, here are the top players that they should consider.

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Tyrann Mathieu

For me and many other Steelers fans, the “Honeybadger” would be the best addition possible for the Steelers out of all free agents this offseason. He is a safety who can cover a ton of ground in the secondary and can also come down and rush the passer. Although he isn’t at the same level as him, I believe he could play the same type of role in our defense that Troy Polamalu played for many years.

Mathieu was just recently released from Arizona after refusing to take a pay cut. In his five seasons with the Cardinals, Mathieu accounted for 308 tackles, four sacks, 11 interceptions, and one touchdown. Pairing him in the secondary with a young Sean Davis would be a nice duo for Pittsburgh’s secondary. However, this will most likely come at a decent price so it would be a stretch for the Steelers based on recent years.

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Lawrence Timmons

I am a major advocate for Timmons returning to the Steelers. With Ryan Shazier‘s future remaining uncertain, the Steelers need some depth at the inside linebacker position. A lot of people will say that Timmons is out of his prime and is too slow to perform at a high rate. Timmons had a slight drop in production in his one season with the Dolphins, managing to finish with only 84 tackles and zero sacks.

However, I feel like Timmons still has some decent football left in him. The biggest thing for me is that Timmons has experience and is already familiar with the system. He would be a great choice to come in and provide some leadership for this defense while grooming a rookie linebacker behind him. It is also clear that Timmons missed Pittsburgh, as he left the Dolphins for a short period this season and popped up at the Steelers practice facilities. With that being said, Timmons might come at a cheaper price than other free agent linebackers if he just simply wants to come back home.

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Kenny Vacarro

If we are unable to land Mathieu, Vacarro is the next highest safety on my radar for the Steelers. Vacarro is a player to me who still holds some great potential in the league that hasn’t been fully unleashed. With the Saints recently signing Kurt Coleman, it is clear that they are moving on from Vacarro. In his six seasons in New Orleans, Vacarro had eight interceptions, 385 tackles, and 7.5 sacks. He is another player that I believe could be a great fit to pair with Davis in the secondary. Although he may come at a higher price than a player like Tre Boston, I strongly believe that he would be worth the money.

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Tavon Austin

After all of that defensive talk, I finally have an offensive weapon for the Steelers to look at. Although Austin hasn’t quite lived up to his hype coming out of West Virginia, he has still shown flashes of a solid NFL player. Austin is believed to be likely released by the Rams, who have also reportedly looked into trading him. In his five seasons with the Rams, Austin accumulated 1,689 receiving yards for 12 touchdowns, along with 1,238 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns. He also served as a threat on special teams as a returner, in which he has three career touchdowns.

Although the Steelers already have a solid passing attack, it never hurts to add more weapons. I could see Austin being a key rotational guy that can help spread out the field. Austin can also give the Steelers an excellent option as a return specialist, something they have lacked in recent years (minus Antonio Brown in the punt return game of course). If they can get him at a relatively cheap price, Austin could get his career back on track in Pittsburgh.

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As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, the Steelers are not known for being big free agency spenders. With that being said, none of these deals may happen. However, I believe that the Steelers should highly consider each of the players to help them improve an already impressive roster, as well as give us Steelers fans something to be excited about during the offseason.

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