BTSC takes a look at the top free agents at each position, whether or not they are in the Steelers price range. Here are the Defensive Ends.
Disclaimer: The author realizes that the 2021 Steelers are probably going to be burning in Salary Cap Hell and can’t pony up much money for free agents. However, you never know what they have planned and it’s the author’s responsibility to highlight the free agent options.
The Steelers have talent on the defensive line and are set at the ends with Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt. But you never know if they will be looking to add, especially if his brothers are on the team. Should the Steelers decide that they want a new DE, this is who is looking for a deal.
ONCE AGAIN. THE AUTHOR REALIZES THAT THE STEELERS DO NOT HAVE THE FUNDS FOR MANY OF THESE PLAYERS. HOWEVER, THIS IS THE LIST OF WHO IS AVAILABLE TO THE ENTIRE LEAGUE AND THE STEELERS. YOU CAN CRITICIZE THE IDIOT AUTHOR ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER OR BLEACHER REPORT COMMENTS SECTION FOR WASTING YOUR TIME AND NOT KNOWING ANYTHING AT ALL, AGAIN AND AGAIN. HOWEVER, THESE WILL CONTINUE TO APPEAR.
Most Notable Free Agent Edge/Defensive Ends
J.J Watt – Houston Texans
Age 32, 6’5”/288 lbs.
PFF Position Ranking (Edge) – #7
Stats: Games Played – 16, Speed – 4.81
Combined Tackles: 63, Solo Tackles: 43, Tackles For Loss: 15, QB Hits: 16, Hurries: 16, Sacks 5.0, Forced Fumbles: 2, Fumble Recoveries: 1, Interceptions: 1, Pass Defenses: 7, Touchdowns: 1
Overall: 85.4 (Elite), Run Defense: 81.0 (High Quality), Pass Rush: 76.6 (High Quality), Coverage: 56.9 (Average)
Steelers fans know all about J.J. and would love to see their team complete the trifecta of the football brothers. J.J. turns 32 in March and he’s probably not a DPOY candidate anymore, but he was still fantastic last year. He’s a perfect short-term signing for a team on the fringe of a championship.
Trey Hendrickson – New Orleans Saints
Age 26, 6’4”/270 lbs.
PFF Position Ranking (Edge) – #28
Stats: Games Played – 15, Speed – 4.65
Combined Tackles: 25, Solo Tackles: 22, Tackles For Loss: 12, QB Hits: 25, Hurries: 7, Sacks 13.5, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 1, Touchdowns: 0
Overall: 72.1 (Above Average), Run Defense: 54.8 (Below Average), Pass Rush: 78.0 (High Quality), Coverage: 44.0 (Poor)
Trey Hendrickson wasn’t an every down player in New Orleans, but still racked up 13.5 sacks. He’s young and dynamic and probably going to break the bank. PFF projects him getting a deal worth $12 million per year.
Melvin Ingram III – Los Angeles Chargers
Age 32, 6’2”/247 lbs.
PFF Position Ranking (Edge) – #27
Stats: Games Played – 7, Speed – 4.79
Combined Tackles: 10, Solo Tackles: 5, Tackles For Loss: 0, QB Hits: 5, Hurries: 7, Sacks 0.0, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 4, Touchdowns: 0
Overall: 72.3 (Above Average), Run Defense: 53.8 (Below Average), Pass Rush: 76.3 (High Quality), Coverage: 77.8 (High Quality)
After a slow start, Ingram’s been around a while and has had a pretty good career. He’s not the pass rusher that he once was, but could command around $10 million as a great secondary pass rusher.
Carl Lawson – Cincinnati Bengals
Age 25, 6’2”/265 lbs.
PFF Position Ranking (Edge) – #14
Stats: Games Played – 16, Speed – 4.67
Combined Tackles: 36, Solo Tackles: 18, Tackles For Loss: 4, QB Hits: 32, Hurries: 11, Sacks 5.5, Forced Fumbles: 2, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 0, Touchdowns: 0
Overall: 76.3 (High Quality), Run Defense: 61.1 (Average), Pass Rush: 84.9 (High Quality), Coverage: 54.0 (Below Average)
Lawson gets pressure on the quarterback and grades well on the pass rush. He really excelled his rookie season in this arena. As a run stopper, not as much. But there’s so much upside here for the 26-year old.
Olivier Vernon – Cleveland Browns
Age 30, 6’2”/262 lbs.
PFF Position Ranking (Edge) – #22
Stats: Games Played – 14, Speed – 4.8
Combined Tackles: 36, Solo Tackles: 24, Tackles For Loss: 12, QB Hits: 16, Hurries: 12, Sacks 9.0, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 1, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 3, Touchdowns: 0
Overall: 74.6 (Above Average), Run Defense: 71.1 (Above Average), Pass Rush: 71.6 (Above Average), Coverage: 62.0 (Average)
Although getting older, Vernon is still a very good run stopper and knows how to get to the quarterback with nine sacks last year. The big question mark is the Achilles injury suffered against the Steelers in Week 17. So, he might not be ready to start the 2021 season. PFF thinks Vernon can be gotten for a bargain of $2 million.
Steelers Free Agent Edge/Defensive Ends
Age 28, 6’4”/245 lbs.
PFF Position Ranking (Edge) – Not Ranked
Stats: Games Played – 8, Speed – 4.89
Combined Tackles: 16, Solo Tackles: 14, Tackles For Loss: 0, QB Hits: 1, Hurries: 12, Sacks 0.0, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 0, Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 0, Touchdowns: 0
Overall: 44.1 (Poor), Run Defense: 40.0 (Above Average), Pass Rush: 51.0 (Poor)
Marsh is listed as a Defensive End, but played at OLB in limited action in Pittsburgh. Cassius showed up late to the black-and-gold party. He could be a guy that they offer a bargain deal and bring in to show his worth in camp.
Other Free Agent Edge/Defensive Ends
Edmond Robinson – Atlanta Falcons
Steven Means – Atlanta Falcons
Charles Harris – Atlanta Falcons
Trent Murphy – Buffalo Bills
Mario Edwards – Chicago Bears
Margus Hunt – Cincinnati Bengals
Tyrone Crawford – Dallas Cowboys
Aldon Smith – Dallas Cowboys
Everson Griffen – Detroit Lions
Denico Autry – Indianapolis Colts
Al-Quadin Muhammad – Indianapolis Colts
Aaron Lynch – Jacksonville Jaguars
Dawuane Smoot – Jacksonville Jaguars
Morgan Fox – Los Angeles Rams
Takkarist McKinley – Las Vegas Raiders
Alex Okafor – Kansas City Chiefs
Taco Charlton – Kansas City Chiefs
Ifeadi Odenigbo (RFA) – Minnesota Vikings
Deatrich Wise – New England Patriots
Shilique Calhoun – New England Patriots
John Simon – New England Patriots
Noah Spence – New Orleans Saints
Vinny Curry – Philadelphia Eagles
Solomon Thomas – San Francisco 49ers
Kerry Hyder – San Francisco 49ers
Jordan Willis – San Francisco 49ers
Ezekiel Ansah – San Francisco 49ers
Ronald Blair – San Francisco 49ers
Dion Jordan – San Francisco 49ers
Damontre Moore – Seattle Seahawks
Branden Jackson – Seattle Seahawks
Benson Mayowa – Seattle Seahawks
Jack Crawford – Tennessee Titans
If you missed any of the other positions in the series, check them out below.