The Pittsburgh Steelers were listed as one of the top five landing spots for disgruntled Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White, who has reportedly requested a trade.
White is upset about negotiations breaking down between him and the Bucs on a contract extension. The 2019 first-round pick has one season remaining on his rookie contract, an $11.7 million fully guaranteed club option that has already been exercised by Tampa.
The Steelers have already significantly addressed the inside linebacker position this offseason, signing Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts as the current presumptive starters. But the team released Myles Jack as well as losing Devin Bush and Robert Spillane in free agency, so they could use a third option.
The late date in the NFL offseason means there aren’t that many teams that are still looking for linebackers and also have the salary cap space remaining, or the ability create it, to absorb White’s contract.
Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report broke down his top five landing sports for White if he is traded, and included the Steelers for those reasons.
“Pittsburgh should acquire White as an upgrade over Roberts,” Moton wrote. “He also fits defensive coordinator Teryl Austin’s blitz-friendly scheme. … Roberts is a two-down defender who hasn’t played more than 59 percent of his team’s defensive snaps in a single season. He isn’t a reliable coverage defender, allowing at least a 121.9 passer rating in two of his previous three terms while seeing limited targets in coverage”
The Steelers have approximately $9.8 million in offseason salary cap space, but have the ability to clear over $12 million by restructuring the contract of outside linebacker T.J. Watt.
They could afford to bring on White in 2023, but with White balking at the contract offer from Tampa, it’s unlikely the Steelers would want to lock up another defensive player to an expensive long-term contract.
The other teams that Moton listed as top landing spots for White are the Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots.