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Steelers off-season targets: Mark Barron

Ever since the day the Pittsburgh Steelers cut Mark Barron, they have had a depth issue at inside linebacker.  The team has done nothing to address the position through free agency or the draft.  As we stand here in mid-May, the depth chart reads only Ulysees Gilbert and Robert Spillane as backups at linebacker.  Neither of those has one game of starting experience in the NFL.  Put together, they don’t even have a full season of games played.  This position group has to be among the most likely to have a veteran added to going forward.  Top five positions the Steelers still need to address

When scouring the remaining free agents at inside linebacker, the list is not pretty. This isn’t really a surprise given how late in the process we are. The good news is most of these players left will be willing to play on a one year, minimum contract.  That’s something the cash strapped Steelers will be looking for.  https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/free-agents/inside-linebacker/

The case for Barron:

The one name that stands out of course is Mark Barron.  His familiarity with the team is probably his biggest asset.  That, and his versatility to play both linebacker spots make him an attractive player for what the Steelers need. He could even fill the hybrid safety/linebacker role, albeit not all that well.

Barron did not live up to his rather large contract last season.  Bigger things were expected from most fans and media.  But when looking deeper, he was really only signed as insurance in case Kevin Colbert could not pull off a trade to get Devin Bush.  Once that happened, his role was diminished as the team started working their new rookie into the lineup more and more.  Mark Barron did finish the year fourth on the team in tackles with 82.  He also compiled three sacks, an interception, and one recovered fumble.  All in all, not a terrible season by any measure.

Conclusion:

The question now becomes what can Mark Barron reasonably command as a salary for 2020.  As a five plus million dollar player, he was over paid to say the least.  As a near minimum candidate, he then becomes a valuable asset for the team.  If he is willing to accept the latter, this is a no-brainer signing the Steelers would have to make.

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