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Steelers off-season options: OLB Jerry Attaochu

In the continuing series of posts looking at free agent options for the Steelers, we come to edge rusher Jerry Attaochu.  He’s not a name many may be familiar with because several injuries have limited his playing time.  When healthy Attaochu can be just the type of pass rusher this team badly needs.

6’3″ – 252 lbs

4.43 – 40 yard dash

2nd round pick (50th overall) by San Diego Chargers 2014

As you can see by the numbers above, Jerry Attaochu is as an explosive athlete as they come as an edge rusher.  He has all the physical gifts needed to be a dominant player in the NFL.  The drawback with him of course is injuries.  Attaochu has yet to play a full season in the league after four years with the Chargers.  A broken foot ended his 2016 campaign in week 13, that after missing games with a hamstring injury as well.  The hamstring seems to be Attaochu’s biggest issue.  He has missed games in all four seasons with the Chargers because of this issue.  In all, the talented edge rusher has missed 26 out of the possible 64 games due to various injuries.

This could be a blessing in disguise for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  His trouble staying on the field will certainly keep the asking price down in free agency.  Attaochu is exactly the low risk/high reward player the team could be looking for.  If he could finally solve his hamstring issues, Jerry Attaochu could be the pass-rush specialist this defense needs to take it to another level.

It’s a tough read as to what kind of interest there will be in this player during free agency.  The injury bug is sure to scare teams away.  However, the athleticism will attract some teams into thinking of him as a good reclamation project. I’m guessing somewhere in the $2-$4 million over 3 years might be the range.  He could also choose a one year prove it deal, and go back into free agency in 2019.  Either way Pittsburgh should jump at the chance to sign this player.  Of course the injury risk will always be there, but the potential for a home run if he were to stay healthy is almost to much to pass up.  A properly structured contract would protect the team from too much of a cap hit if the worse case scenario happened.  Seems like a no-brainer here from where I sit.

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