PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have almost completely overhauled their inside linebacker room less than one day into the new league year.
Not only has the team agreed to terms with standout former Washington Commanders linebacker Cole Holcomb, it’s also signing former Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts to a two-year deal, sources told ESPN.
Shortly after agreeing to terms with Roberts, the team cut starting inside linebacker Myles Jack, the team announced Thursday. The move created $8 million in cap space. The Steelers also restructured safety Minkah Fitzpatrick‘s contract, sources told ESPN’s Field Yates, to create an additional $10 million in cap space to sign a free agent class that includes cornerback Patrick Peterson.
The Steelers used a three-inside linebacker rotation of Jack, Robert Spillane and Devin Bush last season. Spillane signed with the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency, while former top-10 pick Bush is taking a visit to the Seattle Seahawks, sources told Schefter. That leaves just 2022 seventh-round pick Mark Robinson as the lone inside linebacker returning from the 2022 season.
Holcomb had an injury-shortened 2022 campaign, playing just seven games before he landed on injured reserve with a foot injury. He had midseason surgery to insert a screw in his foot and is expected to sign with the Steelers this week, pending a physical. Holcomb had 69 tackles before his injury and had a reputation as a fierce tackler in the middle of Washington’s defense. He’s projected to be a starter in Pittsburgh, likely alongside Roberts.
Roberts, a two-time Super Bowl champ with the Patriots and former sixth-round pick, spent the past three seasons in Miami, starting 43 of 47 games he played in. He had a pick-six and two forced fumbles in 2021 and recorded 251 tackles — including a career-high 107 last season — in his career with the Dolphins. In addition to being an aggressive, physical linebacker, Roberts is also a special teamer and could help replace Marcus Allen, who is an unrestricted free agent.
Neither Roberts nor Holcomb are known for their pass coverage, a consistent weakness of Steelers inside linebackers, but both possess a coveted ability to stop the run.