Brooke PriorESPN Writer2 minute read
PITTSBURGH — The Steelers almost completely overhauled their inside linebacker room less than a day into the league’s new year.
Not only did the team agree to terms with former Washington Commanders standout linebacker Cole Holcomb, but they also signed former Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts to a two-year contract. years, sources told ESPN.
Shortly after agreeing to terms with Roberts, the team removed inside linebacker Myles Jack, the team announced Thursday. This move created $8 million in ceiling space. The Steelers also restructured safety Minkah Fitzpatrick’s contract, sources told ESPN’s Field Yates, to create an additional $10 million cap to sign a class of free agent that includes cornerback Patrick Peterson. .
The Steelers used a rotation of three inside linebackers from Jack, Robert Spillane and Devin Bush last season. Spillane signed with the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency, while former top-10 pick Bush visits the Seattle Seahawks, sources told Schefter. That leaves only 2022 seventh-round pick Mark Robinson as the only returning inside linebacker from the 2022 season.
Holcomb had an injury-shortened 2022 campaign, playing just seven games before landing on injured reserve with a foot injury. He underwent midseason surgery to insert a screw into his foot and is expected to sign with the Steelers this week, pending a medical. Holcomb had 69 tackles before his injury and had a reputation as a fierce tackler in the middle of Washington’s defense. He should start in Pittsburgh, probably alongside Roberts.
Roberts, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots and a former sixth-round pick, has spent the past three seasons in Miami, starting 43 of the 47 games he has played. He had a pick six and two forced fumbles in 2021 and recorded 251 tackles — including a career-high 107 last season — during his career with the Dolphins. Besides being an aggressive physical linebacker, Roberts is also a special teammate and could help replace Marcus Allen, who is an unrestricted free agent.
Neither Roberts nor Holcomb are known for pass coverage, a consistent Steelers weakness inside linebackers, but both possess coveted run-stopping ability.