I’m not going to rule out the possibility of a Lawrence Timmons reunion. We’ve seen these things before in Pittsburgh. William Gay and Bryant McFadden going elsewhere before returning comes to mind. But should Timmons return? That’s a much easier answer.
Yes, Timmons knows the defense. Yes, he would bring a leadership and communication element the front seven sorely lacks. Both would be welcomed additions.
What isn’t welcomed is how he would fit into the defense. As far as I can tell, there isn’t one.
Want him to start? Sure, there’s an inside linebacker spot open with Ryan Shazier’s future in question. But that isn’t where Timmons ended his career in Pittsburgh and Shazier’s Mack linebacker spot isn’t ideal for a 32 year old on the decline. Yesterday, we covered some of the things that made Shazier, well, Shazier. The ability to carry out any assignment on defense, to run with WRs and TEs down the seam, to come across the field to clean up missed tackles or chase down screens. Someone you have complete trust with on any down, any situation, any role.
Timmons didn’t fit that role at the end of his Steelers’ career. I promise that didn’t improve after a failed 2017 in South Beach. Though far from a terrible athlete, if he circled back, he’s return as the Buck linebacker. A spot currently held by Vince Williams, who I’d argue is now better than Timmons, and even if you disagree, benching Williams still means you gotta replace Shazier.
To fix the car’s brakes, you changed the tires. Yeah, you did something, but that doesn’t actually solve anything.
You could argue Timmons would sign as pure depth. No one wants to see the team scramble and sign Sean Spence off the street again. But even then, it’s hard to find the fit. Hard to see him playing special teams without that on his resume. In Miami, he saw just six snaps and was limited in his final years as a Steeler. The backup #3 ILB has to be not only a capable special teamer but a core special teamer, just in the way Tyler Matakevich is. Just in the way VW was before ascending into the top role.
And in reality, whether you disagree or not, the team is high on Matakevich. He was the clear backup at both spots before tearing his shoulder. And when asked about the position, Kevin Colbert was quick to mention his name. A backup isn’t needed. A slam-dunk starter is. Timmons ain’t that guy. Not anymore.
Even if you think I’m wrong about the depth, you can find someone else who can provide that and immediate special teams value. For the starting role, I have three free agents in mind to take that spot. You’ll see that list on Monday.
Signing Timmons sounds good on paper. But lay out a plan for who you use him and it’s a much tougher sell. He’d essentially be an insurance policy for Williams. That’s not what the team needs at the position. All he is a signing for the sake of a signing.