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Patrick Queen is the Highest-Paid Free Agent Signing in Steelers History



Pittsburgh Steelers Patrick Queen

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan made a massive move in free agency by swiping inside linebacker Patrick Queen from AFC North rival the Baltimore Ravens. The deal reportedly comes in at three years, $41 million. It’s the largest free-agent signing in Steelers’ history by almost $5 million annually. The previous record was held by right guard James Daniels, who averages $8.83 million per year. Queen will average $13.66 million.

The Steelers usually play it pretty close to the vest in free agency, especially for most of former general manager Kevin Colbert’s tenure, but they’re starting to open up their pockets more now. Not having to pay a franchise quarterback certainly helps. The Steelers signed left guard Isaac Seumalo to a three-year, $24 million deal last year in free agency. They gave Daniels a three-year, $26.5 million deal the year prior.

According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Queen’s base salary in 2024 is $2.25 million. It includes a $11.59 million signing bonus, so $13.84 million in total. He’ll have a $6.13 million cap hit in 2024.

Cap guru Ian Whetstone pointed out that 22 years ago, the Steelers signed inside linebacker James Farrior to a three-year contract for $5.4 million (with upside to $7.05M). With cap inflation, that translates to about $19.4 million in 2024. So Patrick Queen at $41 million for three years would be a significantly larger investment.

Farrior is considered the Steelers best free-agent signing ever. At 24 and coming off a Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro campaign in 2023, Queen has the potential to surpass Farrior.

Queen was Baltimore’s first-round pick out of LSU in 2020, and has been a starter for all four seasons on the Ravens defense, but Baltimore had to deal with both Queen and his partner Roquan Smith both hitting free agency this offseason. The Ravens chose to re-sign Smith to a five-year, $100 million contract in late January and let Queen hit the market, where the last team they likely wanted him to land snapped him up.

An outstanding cover man, Queen is finally the long-sought spiritual replacement to Ryan Shazier that the Steelers have been searching for at inside linebacker. Queen will add to the group that includes Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts, giving the Steelers three starting-capable inside linebackers for the 2024 season.

Queen is coming off his best statistical season in Baltimore. In 2023, he played in all 17 games, 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.

The 6-foot, 230-pound linebacker does not have the size of typical Steelers players at the position, but he makes up for it with blistering speed. Queen ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and posted a 10-foot-5 broad jump at the 2020 NFL Combine.