The Pittsburgh Steelers have some holes to fill this offseason. Most of these holes are on the defensive side of the of the football. Once again the team struggled to get pressure from their outside linebackers. If the Steelers decided to use free agency to upgrade the position, Ezekiel Ansah would have to be atop the list.
Ezekiel Ansah is a 6′ 5″ and 275lb edge rusher who’s spent his entire career with the Detroit Lions. When healthy, he has been a very effective at getting to the quarterback. Ansah had 14.5 sacks in his breakout season of 2015. After an injury plagued 2016 where he only managed 2 sacks, Ansah bounced back nicely this past season with another 12 sack campaign. To say he is the prototypical edge rusher the Steelers need would be an understatement.
There are a few hurdles to acquiring a player like Ezekiel Ansah. First there’s the question of whether or not the Lions decide to use the franchise tag on their talented edge rusher. If that were the case, Pittsburgh would be out of luck. The second hurdle is how much it would take to sign a premier pass-rusher. Despite the injury concerns, the Steelers would have to expect to pay close to top dollar to get this kind of edge-rusher.
At the end of the day, the Steelers aren’t a team that makes big free agent splashes. Given their current cap situation, it would be tough to fit a big contract that Ansah would command. Add those two factors together, it would be unlikely but not impossible to sign a player like Ansah. With all the struggles Kevin Colbert has had finding an edge rusher in the draft, maybe it’s time do this team to try a different route to solve the problem.