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Steelers Curiously Among Favorites to Land Star Edge Rusher

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Pittsburgh Steelers Trade Target OLB Khalil Mack

The Pittsburgh Steelers are surprisingly among the favorites to be the next team for Los Angeles Chargers edge rusher Khalil Mack, according to odds posted this week by Bet Online.

The 33-year-old edge rusher is under contract for 2024, but with a $38.5 million salary cap hit, and the Chargers still over $20 million over the salary cap with just days to get under the limit, there has been plenty of speculation that L.A. could move on from the veteran pass rusher.

Playing opposite of Joey Bosa at outside linebacker in the Chargers’ 3-4 scheme, Mack had the best season of his career, despite it being his 10th year in the NFL. In 2023, Mack recorded 17 sacks, 74 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 22 quarterback hits, five forced fumbles and 10 passes defended. That represented career highs in sacks and passes defended and he was very near to career marks in forced fumbles and tackles for loss.

The Chargers moving on from Mack, given their salary cap situation, makes sense. But the Steelers are curious destination, with T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith locked in as the team’s starting edge rushers for the foreseeable future.

The Steelers do have a vacancy at outside linebacker, as last year’s No. 3 Markus Golden is set to hit free agency and has yet to be re-signed. But rookie Nick Herbig came on strong in his first season, and looks to be the third man at the position for the foreseeable future.

While the Steelers have made moves to shore up their salary cap situation, they have bigger needs at nearly every other area of the defense, with boundary and slot cornerback, strong safety, inside linebacker and defensive tackle all seeming to be more pressing needs than a fourth outside linebacker.

Despite all that, the Steelers have the second-best odds of landing Mack, according to Bet Online, with Pittsburgh sitting at 5/1 to be his next team if he does not return to L.A. The Detroit Lions are the favorites at 2/1.

Behind the Steelers are the Las Vegas Raiders, who Mack started his career with, at 6/1, the Minnesota Vikings at 8.1, and the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams at 10/1.