The curious case of the Steelers and Donta Hightower came to a head today.  Hightower left the Steelers facilities without signing a contract.  Pittsburgh gave the ultimatum that if the talented linebacker left the city, the contract offer would be pulled from the table. 

What’s strange about all this is why the Steelers are so interested in an inside linebacker that reportedly will take $10 million plus to sign.  Granted Hightower is an upgrade over current starter Vince Williams.  It’s the position they play that is the curious part.  Neither player strength lies in pass coverage, and it’s presumed whoever plays along side of Ryan Shazier will come off the field in passing situations.  

That is unless Pittsburgh has a different plan.  Is it possible that the Steelers want to use Donta Hightower as an outside linebacker?  Possibly shifting from inside to outside on passing downs even.  It’s not something too dissimilar to how he was used with the Patriots at times.  This is something that would increase Hightower’s value to the Steelers.  If this is indeed the plan, and the Pittsburgh believes Hightower can be an asset as a pass rusher, this changes things immensely.  We may never know the answer to this question, as it’s likely the deal was not to be had when Hightower left unsigned.  It was a good idea and shows Pittsburgh is thinking outside the box to solve the edge rusher problem.  And maybe…..just maybe they will get thier man to sign with them after all.