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CBS Sports Names Patrick Queen Top 10 LB in NFL

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Pittsburgh Steelers LB Patrick Queen

The Pittsburgh Steelers gave Patrick Queen the largest free-agent deal in franchise history by almost $5 million annually this offseason. The previous record was held by right guard James Daniels, who averages $8.83 million per year. Queen will average $13.66 million on his three-year, $41 million deal. 

With the lucrative contract, the expectations for Queen with the Steelers are considerably high. They expect him to be a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, similar to how Ryan Shazier was several years ago.

In 2023, Queen played in all 17 games with the Baltimore Ravens, racking up 133 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, six quarterback hits, six passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble. He was named a second-team All-Pro and was selected to the AFC Pro Bowl squad, his first career honor in each category.

Another Pro Bowl or even first-team All-Pro should be the expectations for Patrick Queen in 2024. The Baltimore media has constantly bashed Queen since he signed with the Steelers in March. The main narrative is that Queen won’t be the same player without Roquan Smith by his side.

“I don’t know if (Queen) can be the guy without Roquan Smith. … I think Steelers Nation is going to be a little bit disappointed,” Rob Long of 1.057 The Fan in Baltimore said on 93.7 The Fan in March.

Smith was ranked as the second-best linebacker in the NFL by J

“We are going to get to see how good Queen really is now that he’s in Pittsburgh,” Dajani wrote. “The former first-round pick thrived next to Roquan Smith in Baltimore, but now is expected to be the top dog. He’s clearly capable, as Queen is one of just six players to record at least 450 combined tackles and 10 sacks in the last four seasons. After recording 133 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks, six passes defensed and one interception in 2023, Queen earned his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections.”

In a recent mailbag on The Athletic, Ravens insider Jeff Zrebiec defended Queen over the criticism that he won’t be the same player without Smith.

“People tend to forget that Queen was one of the youngest players in the league when the Ravens drafted him, and he didn’t play much college football. There were going to be growing pains, and they were probably exacerbated because middle linebacker is a glamour position in Baltimore. But I think this notion that Queen needed Smith to arrive so he could improve is unfair,” Zrebiec wrote.

“After a slow start in 2022, Queen started to play much better before the Smith trade was made. He was improving. Did the presence of Smith help Queen get to another level? Sure. That’s how it works. Playing alongside great players tends to raise your level, too. I think Queen will be just fine in those roles. He’s a smarter, more experienced and explosive player than he was two years ago.”