Player: Stevenson Sylvester
Position: Inside Linebacker
Experience: 4 Years
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2013 Salary Cap Hit: $444,706
2013 Season Breakdown: In the weeks leading up to training camp, Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler actually spoke highly of Stevenson Sylvester, a fourth-year inside linebacker with a lot to prove. He intimated that Sylvester would likely be the first linebacker off the bench.
As it turned out, Sylvester wound up being the first linebacker on the bench, as he suffered an ankle sprain after a teammate collided into him following a strong special teams tackle in the first preseason game. The injury completely derailed his training camp, and his inability to retake the field made him an easy first wave cut.
The Steelers did later re-sign him mid-season, releasing Kion Wilson in order to bring him back. Of course, he primarily played special teams, in the process registering three special teams tackles, though his overall performance on special teams wasn’t impressive.
Sylvester did see some time on defense this year, both at inside linebacker and outside linebacker, the latter coming toward the end of the season following injuries and illnesses to the top three at the position.
First, however, he saw 13 snaps on defense during the second-half slaughter courtesy of the New England Patriots in Week Nine of the regular season, registering one tackle but generally finding himself out of position on running plays.
Over the course of the last two weeks of the season, Sylvester played close to 90 snaps at outside linebacker, alternating with Chris Carter but ultimately receiving the bulk of the work—which says more about Carter than about Sylvester.
As shouldn’t be surprising, Sylvester didn’t present much of a pass rush against either Matt Flynn or Jason Campbell. In fact, the one time he did register what was in essence a coverage sack, the play was negated by offsetting penalties, if my memory is correct. In general, his play against the run was marginal, yet acceptable, registering eight tackles in the last two games.
Free Agency Outlook: There really shouldn’t be any market for Sylvester. He has shown nothing defensively, and is far from an accomplished or notable contributor on special teams that could garner him a shot with another team. Should anybody sign him, it would be purely as a roster filler.
The Steelers could be one of those teams with a roster-filling need, but as a veteran player, there is likely a cheaper alternative. While the Steelers have Vince Williams, Terence Garvin, and Wilson—and a wildcard in Sean Spence—there is no clear legitimate starter in that group.
Re-signing Sylvester would just be piling on marginal talent at an already confused position. While he may be brought back with a chance to compete in camp, he will certainly not be guaranteed anything, and at this point I wouldn’t expect him to make the roster.
Other Steelers Free Agent Player Analysis Ryan Clark – Unrestricted Free Agent Emmanuel Sanders – Unrestricted Free Agent Brett Keisel – Unrestricted Free Agent Jerricho Cotchery – Unrestricted Free Agent Ziggy Hood – Unrestricted Free Agent Jason Worilds – Unrestricted Free Agent David Johnson – Unrestricted Free Agent Jonathan Dwyer – Unrestricted Free Agent Fernando Velasco – Unrestricted Free Agent Cody Wallace – Unrestricted Free Agent Will Allen – Unrestricted Free Agent
Steelers are renowned for drafting superior linebackers. What has happened? Are there some critical scouts who are no longer with the team?
Please no, as Marczi mentioned we already have guys like Terrence Garvin and Kion Wilson back next year. I guess there is an outside shot that he’s brought back considering they seem to think he can play inside and outside and at the moment we lack depth outside, but I would MUCH rather have his roster spot filled with a rookie LB draft pick that has room for growth
If they bring this guy back after all the years of working with him and looking at the tapes this past year when he played, I’m really concerned. No way you bring this dude back, not even as a backup. Time to move on. He’s not very good outside of special teams. Probably a nice guy no disrespect personally but at LB, we should use the draft to take his spot.
I think it’s more difficult for the Steelers to determine who will be superior as they typically draft DE’s that will have to move to OLB (Woodley).
And if Sean Spence doesn’t get hurt, we may not have had any of the problems we had with Foote being lost for the season. The guy looked like a star.
If Coach Butler spoke high of Sylvester his perception of talent must be off.
If Sly is resigned then let it be at the expense of Chris Carter who I think is even a worse LB!
Agreed. They already released him once, he was only brought back due to an injury. We have seen his ceiling, it’s time to go in a different direction.
Sly is a guy where I think it’s irrelevant whether they sign him or not. His spot could be had be a rookie or young guy who shows promise in camp.
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