For the second consecutive day, the Pittsburgh Steelers have reportedly added to their inside linebacker core.
NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe reported on March 16 that the Steelers have signed linebacker Elandon Roberts to a two-year deal. Roberts won two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.
Roberts, who will turn 29 in April, has played the past three seasons for the Miami Dolphins. In 2022, he recorded career-highs of 107 combined tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks while starting every game.
His 107 combined tackles led the Dolphins. He amassed 251 combined tackles and 7 sacks in 47 games with Miami.
The Steelers also signed inside linebacker Cole Holcomb to a three-year contract on March 15. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Holcomb, who ended the 2022 season on injured reserve with a foot ailment, must first pass a physical to make his signing official.
With those two additions, veteran Myles Jack became expendable on the Steelers roster. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported about an hour after the Roberts signing that the Steelers cut Jack.
Steelers Sign ILB Elandon Roberts
Arriving in New England as a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Roberts developed into a key contributor on the Patriots defense at the end of the franchise’s dynasty.
He not only made the team as a rookie but made five spot starts for Bill Belichick during his first NFL season. Roberts also started two playoff games and played 14 defensive snaps in the Super Bowl comeback against the Atlanta Falcons.
In 2017, he earned a starting role, which he mostly held for the next two seasons. Roberts started all three playoff games following the 2017 season, including the Super Bowl loss against the Philadelphia Eagles. He played sparingly the following postseason when the Patriots again won the Super Bowl, beating the Los Angeles Rams.
Roberts left New England after starting only three games in 2019. He was a regular starter in Miami, where he made 43 starts in three seasons.
In 107 career games, Roberts has posted 457 combined tackles, including 39 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. He also has recorded 10 pass defenses, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and an interception, which he returned for a touchdown.
In Roberts, the Steelers are getting a player who will be older than 30 when his contract expires, but he is coming off the best statistical season of his career.
Steelers Cut Myles Jack
Entering the offseason, Jack was one of the top cut candidates for the Steelers. But with team losing inside linebackers Devin Bush and Robert Spillane to NFL free agency, Jack was not expendable.
Spillane expressed interest in re-signing with the Steelers this offseason, but he joined the Las Vegas Raiders on a two-year deal.
Signing Roberts and Holcomb during the first week of NFL free agency, though, placed Jack officially on the chopping block. The Steelers could have kept Jack for depth, but his release saved the team $8 million in salary cap space.
The Steelers will officially feature an almost completely new inside linebacker core with presumably a different philosophy. With Holcomb and Roberts, the Steelers are emphasizing physical, run stopping off-the-ball linebackers as opposed to linebackers expected to be “sideline-to-sideline” guys.
Regardless of philosophy, Steelers fans figure to welcome the change. The team’s inside linebackers simply didn’t make enough splash plays during 2022.