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Jerry Tillery Could Be Defensive Line Option for Steelers in FA




The Las Vegas Raiders informed defensive lineman Jerry Tillery that they will release him when the new league year begins Wednesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Tillery is only 27 and with the Steelers needing to bolster the defensive line, he could be a potential free agent target for Pittsburgh.

The Chargers selected Tillery with the No. 28 overall pick in 2019 out of Notre Dame. He never really panned out with Los Angeles, however, and was waived on Nov. 10, 2022. The Raiders claimed him off waivers shortly after.

Tillery’s best career season was in 2021, when he recorded 51 total tackles (24 solos), 4.5 sacks, six tackles for loss and 14 quarterback hits. He also had a solid year in 2020 with three sacks and 14 quarterback hits. In 2023 in Las Vegas, Tillery recorded 31 total tackles (11 solos), two sacks, two tackles for loss, six quarterback hits and one fumble recovery.

Cam Heyward turns 35 in May and is in the final year of his contract, while Larry Ogunjobi had a disappointing year in 2023. DeMarvin Leal was a healthy scratch a few times last season, and might not be a fit with the Steelers. Beyond that, Keeanu Benton had a great 2023 season, but Armon Watts and Montravius Adams are free agents. So defensive line needs to be addressed whether it’s through free agency or the draft. The Steelers do have an emerging star in nose tackle Keenau Benton, however.

The Steelers met with multiple defensive tackles at the NFL Combine, but one stuck out from the rest — Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy. Murphy met formally with the Steelers, and as a projected Top-15 pick, that raises some eyebrows.

Pittsburgh also formally meeting with Clemson defensive lineman Ruke Orhorhoro and Texas A&M defensive lineman McKinnley Jackson. Orhorhoro is expected to go on in the middle of day two, while Jackson will go later on day two. Either way, this is a significant point of interest for the team, and they want to land someone in this class. And it makes sense with their current defensive line situation. Tillery in free agency could also be considered.