The Pittsburgh Steelers needed to snag a solid starting inside linebacker to pair with star Lawrence Timmons, and the Steelers especially needed to add someone who can bring some hard-nosed, downhill run defense to solidify the team’s ability to stuff runs up the middle. Pro Football Talk reports that the Steelers are signing former Buffalo Bills solid starting linebacker Arthur Moats to a one-year deal, and he’s definitely a quality solution for Kevin Colbert to start next to Timmons.
I’ve always viewed Moats as an underrated player in this league, and the only reason why the 26-year-old (he’s a couple of years younger than I thought) fell out of favor in Buffalo was because of his struggles in coverage; he has just one career passes defended. However, run defense isn’t as big of a priority in the 3-4 as an ILB, and the Steelers will appreciate his ability to make plays in the running game. He’s no Brandon Spikes or anything, but he did notch a solid 54 tackles in 16 games last season.
Moats actually set a career high for tackles last season after never notching more than 33 he had as a rookie in 2010, and I’m willing to bet that he will have more than 54 tackles in 2014 and establish a career-high in his fifth season in the league. This is a cheap, no-risk signing for the Steelers, and it gives them a good, affordable upgrade at the position. Run-stuffing ILBs are a niche role that can be had for a cheap price, so give plenty of credit to the shrewd Steelers for making this nice little deal.