Like many of you, I was hoping that the Pittsburgh Steelers would sign Colorado State outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett as undrafted free agent, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Barrett wound up signing with the Denver Broncos, but in a recent interview, he did say that the Steelers were interested in his services.
“[The Broncos] were at the top of my list so I didn’t really consider a lot of other offers,” Barrett said, according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “I only considered the Steelers because [former CSU linebacker and later assistant coach] Joey Porter, our coach from CSU, went out there this year. So those were the top two but the Broncos seemed like the better fit … I heard from [the Broncos] throughout the draft, before the draft. The Steelers, they wanted me. But the Broncos they called and sounded really serious about me and I liked the opportunity.”
When you look at the Broncos current 90 man roster, it’s easy to tell that Barrett will have his work cut out for him as far as making the final cut out of training camp and even Legwold notes the long odds the 2013 Mountain West Conference’s defensive player of the year faces in his article.
Had Barrett instead signed with the Steelers, one would think that his odds of making their final 53 man roster would be slightly better. After all, the Steelers didn’t even draft a true 3-4 outside linebacker. Sure, they drafted Jordan Zumwalt, but he’s more of an inside linebacker that will likely be cross trained to play outside.
According to Mike Klis of The Denver Post, the Broncos gave Barrett a $10,000 signing bonus and that amount was second on the team behind Isaiah Burse, who received $12,500 to sign. We’ll likely never know if it came down more to opportunity or money, but at this point it really doesn’t matter.
We’ll have to wait and see how things play out in Denver for Barrett over the course of the summer. If he winds up not making the Broncos 53 man roster out of training camp, he will be waived. At that point, the Steelers might have a chance to sign him to their practice squad if he isn’t claimed off waivers or signed to the Broncos practice squad.
At least we know now that the Steelers did indeed have interest in Barrett and that the connecting of the dots back to Porter was solid speculation by many of us.