The Pittsburgh Steelers have made some interesting moves clearing salary cap space in the last week or so. It started with the surprising news that perennial back-up Landry Jones had been released on cut down day. It may not seem like much, but the move saved the team a little over one million against the cap. Yesterday, Pittsburgh restructured Cam Hayward’s deal to carve out even more cap room for 2018. These are curious moves for a team who’s roster has been set…..or is it?
It seems obvious the Steelers will have to add another outside linebacker if not before this week, then by week two for sure. After keeping just four originally, the team placed Ola Adeniyi on injured reserve leaving themselves dangerously short at the position. In theory, the team could get away with using inside linebackers Vince Williams or Matthew Thomas for a game or two. Both played some on the edge during pre-season. The easy solution would be to just activate Keion Adams from the practice squad and call it a day. However, all the salary cap maneuvering hints that they may be looking to bring a player in from outside the organization.
After scouring other team’s rosters for potential trade possibilities, one name stood out. Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo seems to hit all the right notes as far as a potential trade target. Tennessee used a first round pick on edge rusher Harold Landry, making Orakpo expendable. The Titans linebacker is in the last year of his contract which will pay him nine million this season. That in itself is interesting because it’s roughly how much cap space the Steelers have right now. Orakpo played all sixteen games for the Titans last season, and registered seven sacks. He has been a consistent pass rusher throughout his career, having registered double digit sacks three times in nine seasons. As far as compensation, the Steelers probably could get away with giving a fifth or sixth round pick in exchange for the Titans edge rusher. For a team with aspirations of winning a Super Bowl, this would be a nice addition.