More potential help on the defensive side of the ball will be available for the Pittsburgh Steelers via free agency.
Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the New York Giants will not franchise tag safety Landon Collins, allowing the 25-year-old safety to hit the open market for 2019.
The Steelers historically have not broken the bank for signing veteran players via free agency, yet with the amount of young talent becoming available such as Collins and Baltimore’s C.J. Mosley, Pittsburgh may have to re-think its traditional process of growing players through the draft if they want to capitalize on a Super Bowl window that will essentially close when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announces his retirement.
Collins has made the Pro Bowl the last three seasons after being the Giants second round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. Collins plays at a high level thanks to his physicality and ball instincts, two traits dearly missed in Pittsburgh’s secondary. Despite ending his season in 2018 with surgery on a partially torn rotator cuff, Collins finished with 96 tackles, 4 passes defended and a forced fumble through only 12 games played.
GM Kevin Colbert made some noise at the NFL Combine with comments about re-evaluating how the team will look at players in the defensive secondary:
“Our game has always been about getting physical players who can come off the edge and close off the edge and make a tackle. But are they doing that at the expense of not making plays on the football? We have to maybe try to find that balance and maybe be more open to the concept that the game is constantly changing, and if you want playmakers in the back end, then find someone who has done it.”- Colbert on evaluating cornerbacks
Will the same re-evaluations carry over to the safety position?
If so, Pittsburgh may just be in the market for Collins’ services. However, Collins is favored to see a big payday this off-season, something the Steelers may shy away from.