3 free agent safeties Pittsburgh Steelers could sign in 2024

The Pittsburgh Steelers are crazy if they do not sign these Safeties.

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages
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NFL Free Agent #2 Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
Age: 26

The Detroit Lions experienced success during the 2023 campaign. Improvements to the defense during the off-season prepared Dan Campbell’s group for a challenging schedule. The biggest acquisition for Detroit was Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. His reputation as a ball-hawking safety instills fear in opposing Quarterbacks. An impressive stint with the Philadelphia Eagles helped the former fourth-rounder gain notoriety. He earned his second-highest PFF defensive grade (63.9) since his rookie season and set his career high in interceptions (6).

Chauncey Gardner Johnson hit the free agency market after his stint with the Eagles. Detroit did not hesitate to pick him up. Johnson was the heart and soul of Philadelphia’s secondary and is hungry for another opportunity. A torn pectoral muscle sidelined the veteran for the majority of the 2023 season. He earned a 72.7 defensive rating on 186 snaps. Investing in a dynamic coverage safety will improve Pittsburgh’s defense and provide versatility to a limited group.

NFL Free Agent #1 Xavier McKinney
Age: 25

Hybrid Safeties complement aggressive defenses perfectly. Their ability to cover receivers and fill running lanes makes them dynamic players on the gridiron. It’s hard to find another Troy Polomalu, but the Steelers should try to emulate his greatness. Xavier McKinney may be someone to evaluate. His development since entering the league exemplifies Pittsburgh’s values. McKinney is a hard worker, and it shows on the field. In 2021, he earned 1,134 snaps and finished with a 75.4 defensive grade. McKinney earned six fewer opportunities in 2023 and ranked fourth (87.8) among safeties.

Improving the last line of defense will serve Teryl Austin’s unit well heading into the upcoming season. Xavier McKinney’s skillset is essential on vital downs and eliminates big plays. In 2023, the former second-round pick ranked third in tackle rating (89.1) and first in coverage (91.2) among his peers. The Pittsburgh Steelers thrive when playmakers execute on defense. McKinney is of the same caliber and will become a game-changer.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are seeking improvement heading during a busy off-season. They expect to compete for a playoff berth in the upcoming season, but first they must improve the roster. The free agency market will provide help to franchises looking for experienced veterans. There are plenty of safeties to choose from before Pittsburgh prepares for the NFL Draft.

All statistics courtesy of pff.com