Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers have signed former Buffalo Bills linebacker Arthur Moats, let’s take a look at what it means to a few other linebackers already on the roster and one that’s not.
If the Steelers signed Moats with the idea of using him as a backup inside, the fact that he would best fit as a two-down buck linebacker, pushes Kion Wilson even further outside of the bubble as we sit here in March.
If you take the signing of Moats as some sort of threat to inside linebacker Sean Spence, you probably shouldn’t. Spence, if he proves he can make it back from the knee injury that he suffered during the preseason of his rookie year, is best suited to play the mack linebacker spot behind starter Lawrence Timmons. The Steelers 2012 third-round draft pick has a lot of obstacles to overcome, but Moats isn’t one of them.
As far as a return to Pittsburgh for veteran linebacker James Harrison goes, once again, it probably depends on how the Steelers see Moats as a position fit. If they truly believe that he can play both outside and inside, then, yes, his signing could indeed hurt Harrison’s chances of returning. However, fellow outside linebacker Chris Carter hasn’t necessarily impressed during his first three years in the league, so Harrison potentially being brought back can’t entirely be ruled out as a possibility.
The Steelers are expected to address the outside linebacker during the 2014 NFL Draft at some point, so it would make sense that they wait until then to make a decision with Harrison.
In addition, the signing of Moats really shouldn’t change the Steelers approach to the draft as far as middle linebacker goes. For example, if the team is not confident that Spence can recover, Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley could still be in play as he is best suited to play the mack position at the NFL level.