Titans Sign Steelers Free Agent LB Sean Spence

The Pittsburgh Steelers have now lost another one of their unrestricted free agents as linebacker Sean Spence has signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Tennessee Titans.

Spence, who was originally drafted by the Steelers in the third-round of 2012 NFL Draft out of Miami, will now be reunited with defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in Tennessee. LeBeau was the Steelers’ defensive coordinator for the first three years of Spence’s NFL career.

Spence played in 31 regular season games over the course of the last two seasons in Pittsburgh and recorded 90 tackles and two sacks during that span. The young linebacker missed the first two seasons of his NFL career due to a serious knee injury that he suffered in the Steelers final preseason game of his rookie season.

Spence becomes the third Steelers unrestricted free agent to sign with a new team this offseason as tackle Kelvin Beachum and nose tackle Steve McLendon both agreed to terms with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets respectively on Tuesday.

The loss of Spence, combined with the potential forthcoming loss of fellow unrestricted free agent linebacker Terence Garvin, could force the Steelers to address the inside linebacker position at some point during the 2016 NFL Draft.

Currently, the Steelers have inside linebackers Lawrence Timmons, Ryan Shazier, Vince WilliamsL.J. Fort, and Jordan Zumwalt all under contract for the 2016 season, Zumwalt, however, has yet to play a regular season snap for the Steelers after being drafted by them in the sixth-round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of UCLA. Timmons and Williams are also in the final year’s of their current contracts.

Prior to him signing with the Titans on Wednesday, Spence visited with the Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins.

  • CodeNameJerk

    Good for him, heck of a story.

  • NinjaMountie

    Good for Spence. I hope he is able to have a long career.

  • LucasY59

    Not at all surprised by this signing, wish him well

  • ItaliaRyan26

    Man I hate this. I have cheered on this guy from the start and when he got hurt. Always thought he would be something special but that injury was nasty. Wish him well in the future. Can’t help but think about the void he’s leaving behind.

  • Big Joe

    Figures. Next stop would have been Arizona likely since these teams seem to sign Steelers’ FAs. Any idea what the deal parameters were?

  • RickM

    Glad for Spence but frankly we did not need a second ‘Arizona’, this time in the AFC

  • Good dude, I’ll be rooting for him.

  • Steeler4Ever

    I think we should have kept him….great depth and fill in starter

  • Ike Evans

    Friggin lebeau lol i knew it…..im one of the few that prefers spence to vw so im kinda mad….i think he will go show out down while we just got a bit thinner at ilb

  • Razor Blade

    $2.5 Mil for one year deal I think.

  • Maureen A Gomes

    Spence is a special person. I wish him all the best and now he can work towards being a starter with the Titans. I’m sure LeBeau will take good care of him. Happy for him and his opportunity.

  • Brian Tollini

    Yep. About a million more than my guess would have been.

  • steeltown

    Proud of this man. And proud the Team hung onto him and gave him the chance to succeed. Wish him well.

    It would appear they believe LJ Fort can handle a depth position and special teams. He does appear to have some promise..

  • Sam Clonch

    Forgot about Vince Williams, probably ahead of SS in the depth chart. Still, he was good depth. Will miss him likely.

  • Daniel

    Steeler nation wishes you well and a fruitful career except when you play us!!!

  • I can see why Tomlin goaded Jordan Zumwalt by calling him “money pit.” The team needs him to be healthy and step up his game–with Spence and possibly Garvin gone–to be ready with Vince Williams as our ILB back-ups. Even so, we’ll probably draft a late round all purpose utility LB this April…like Reggie Ragland;<))

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Remember praying for that dude after his career threatening injury! When he recovered I thought he could be the guy to play nxt to Timmons. Then we drafted Shazier and the rest is history! Still got his shine on a lil bit! Played better then most will agree with! I wish you well, Spence! Hold it down!

  • 6 ring circus

    Thanks for the work you put in wearing the Black and Yellow. We’re gonna miss you.

  • Big Joe

    Looks like Dansby is getting released by Browns later today.

  • Big Joe

    Thanks. A little higher than I would have expected (figured $2M or so) since he can start too. Wonder why it was just for 1 year.


    VW is better suited to take over for Timmons imo, but I knew they weren’t going to be able to keep 4 ILBs that can play….not sure Zman is the answer…ILB should be a pick in this draft to develop.

  • Ike Evans

    I know right….and to me..
    What a waste of a pick that would be when we had guys…did garvin sign elsewhere too?

  • Vic

    I hope shazier can stay healthy

  • Edward Hunt

    I think LJ Fort is in the drivers seat now to make the team as a special teamer

  • John Noh

    He signed a cheap prove-it deal there? I’m thinking that the Steelers weren’t all that sad to see him go as I’m sure they could have given him those terms too. Puzzling. I thought 51 was a decent backup. Really sad that we could never see the player he could have been if not…darn pre-season game.

  • Jimbo

    And the plan to improve the defense for the fourth year in a row again falls flat. how can they not be adding DEFENSE?? Rookies are not going to get them to a Lombardi this coming season..ugh

  • Zach

    so happy for this guy, what a fantastic story.

  • Angel V

    He’ll end up in Baltimore


    Haven’t heard on Garvin yet, but I saw he visited somewhere.

    Considering he Spence signed for $2.5mil +/- for 1 yr…that was doable to keep him…maybe they feel his skillset is easily replaced, but if (I wanted to say when) Shazier misses time we’re going to find out….hopefully they are right.

  • 58Steel

    Not at that price

  • Jeff Bryant

    As a Titans fan its good to see he seems to have built up a lot of goodwill with you guys. He sounds like a good guy and I look forward to seeing how he does as a Titan. From what I understand this gives him a shot to be a starter as your LBs are some of the best in the league. This could be the stepping stone he needs to realize his potential. This might be the perfect landing spot because he will be working with a former mentor who knows his story and is invested in him as a person. I think they will take good care of him here.

  • 58Steel

    No way the Steelers would pay that much for a backup, even with the possibility of Shazier getting injured. Spence does not have starter capability. I wish him nothing but the best. Glad he got paid.

  • jsmitt

    Thank goodness he’s gone.. his story much better than the football player.

  • lone pistol

    he should be a solid player for your team, he dealt with a terrible injury and returned strong

  • Steel Your Face

    I sure had that wrong. Happy for him and stoked he gets a year with Coach Lebeau.

  • stan

    I was hoping he’d make even more than that just because he’s worked so hard to get the big contract. I’m happy that he’s getting a chance to start somewhere else… because I was not impressed with his work here.
    Having said that, we’re probably going to have to address the ILB position depth-wise because Zumwalt is even less likely to turn into an NFL football player than Spence was when he was rehabbing a few years ago and LJ Fort is no more likely to be the player we need.

  • Gloria Burke

    I’ll miss seeing him in B&G. Was a feel good story that made you root for him and the hustle he showed on the tenacity to stay with it made him even more likeable. Good luck SS!


    On this team…I agree…in general, we’re going to find out but I think he’s a rotation guy more so a 2nd teamer…he was in an ideal spot here.

    I do echo your wish.

  • Timothy Rea

    2.5 Mil. Wonder how that equates to compensatory pick formulation?

  • stan

    Its a secret formula, but if memory serves all signed players fit into the equation and then picks are awarded based on which players the team lost got the biggest contracts (in terms of both AAV and total value). He’s not going to get us a pick on his own with 1/2.5, but he’ll help offset our “losses” in the formula by signing Green, Harris, and whoever else and therefore get us higher compensatory picks than we would have had otherwise.

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner


  • Nicholas Allen Cotner


  • Ike Evans

    2.5 mil? Lol id go take a look at sportrac if i were you….thats not alot of money for a backup LB under 30

  • EdJHJr

    Well good for him. But he was a valuable guy around here. What about mclendon. Now what’s next

  • AndyR34

    I tend to agree with you. I am not certain that this defense is going to be better. OTOH, if you are moving to a 4-3, you don’t need so many ILB’s. Still huge holes in DL and they have missed on their last FA DL signings (Thomas & Geathers).

  • 58Steel

    Maybe, but it’s more than the Steelers were willing to pay though. VW isn’t getting that much. Perhaps they feel Zumwalt or Fort can fill the spot.

  • Ike Evans

    Zumwalt should stay healthy this year cuz hes going to get his shot

  • Zarbor

    Hate to see him go as well.

  • 58Steel

    Didn’t know where else to post this: Ravens just cut Will Hill. Potential for Steelers?

  • 58Steel

    See he has a history of substance abuse. Was suspended for 6 games beginning of 2014. After Martavis, don’t know that the Steelers want to touch that

  • treeher

    Don’t be concerned. We are losing marginal players from an underperforming defense. We will get stronger with new blood.

  • NYCSteelCurtain

    Thoughts on James Laurinaitis?

  • Maureen A Gomes

    Your team got itself a good player. His determination is beyond belief. I believe the best is yet to come for this young man. I could go on but you’ll see what I’m talking about soon.

  • The GreekGeek

    At this point, I would try to keep Garvin somewhere around the price of what the restricted tender would have been (1 year at 1.5 or maybe 2 years). He is a solid ST player and showed some improvement on D in the preseason. Save the draft picks for more important positions than #4 ILB.

  • Gilgalad

    It’s so sad to see him go, but I am really rooting for the dude where ever he plays.

  • Although he made an unbelievable comeback after the injury, he just wasn’t the player he was before it occurred. I wish him well.

  • The Notorious TOM

    Love you, Sean. Congratulations on your unbelievable comeback, maybe we’ll cross paths again somewhere down the road.

  • VaDave

    I wish him well. Great back story, but really, post injury, really pretty average player.

  • NW86

    That may have been what he wanted. A chance to start, and to cash in next year if he does as well as he thinks he can.

  • NW86

    They probably weren’t willing to pay that much to Spence, otherwise he would probably still be here (but not necessarily – maybe they did offer to match and Spence decided he’d rather go somewhere where he has a chance to start).

    As for paying that much to a backup, Moats makes more than that. And Foote made that much several years ago when he was backing up Timmons and Farrior.

  • Jeremy McClurg

    I wish we could have got him back. He’s a top backup ILB in the NFL easily.

  • Rotten Sircus

    Happy to see Spence working again. Cudos to him & as far other teams overpaying for STEELERNATION LeftOvers …I wish, hope & pray for them to FIND THERE GREATNESS ..AND BE SUCCESSFULL !!!

  • steelers_26

    Jaylon Smith in the 3rd something like that ! Think about that, when he will be ready to go, cause he will, we would have a combo at ILB of Shazier and Jaylon plus Timmons and Vince !!

  • steelers_26

    Jaylon Smith in the 3rd something like that ! Think about that, when he
    will be ready to go, cause he will, we would have a combo at ILB of
    Shazier and Jaylon plus Timmons and Vince !!

  • Mark Tercsak

    Along with everyone else I wish Shawn Spence nothing but the best, having said that its time for Jordan Zumwalt to step up to the plate and take over.

  • Don Lowery

    Very little loyality in the NFL. We all knew the owners were like that…….so it only stands to reason. But, that being said, The steelers paid this guy when he was hurt 75% of the time he was here. You’d think he’d wanna stay. That’s ok though. Not everyone’s cut out for it here in Steeler Country.

  • Don Lowery

    After reading thease other comments………….Spence is a solid player with alot of upside. Good Signing!

  • vasteeler

    i liked spence too, hope he regains what he lost from the injury