On March 28 the Pittsburgh Steelers took a step toward improving the team’s depth on defense. According to Adam Caplan, NFL insider for Sirius XM radio, former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Genard Avery “is expected to sign with the #Steelers on a one-year deal.”
The team has yet to announce the signing, but on Monday afternoon Avery posted a picture that appears to show him inking a contract in the Steelers’ offices.
Caplan went on to clarify that he expects Avery to serve as an outside linebacker in Pittsburgh, as his “best scheme fit is 3-4.”
But at 6-feet-tall and 250 pounds, he offers positional flexibility, and could play inside linebacker if need be.
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Avery Started 12 Games for the Eagles in 2021
Genard Avery, who will turn 27 on April 26, has been in the NFL since 2018, when the Cleveland Browns made him a fifth-round pick (No. 150 overall) out of Memphis.
He had his most productive season when he was a rookie, appearing in 16 games (with five starts), during which time he was credited with 40 tackles (30 solo), including five tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 14 quarterback hits, four passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, as per Pro Football Reference.
He appeared in two more games for the Browns during the following season before he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles on October 28, 2019, fetching a 2021 fourth-round pick in return.
In two-plus seasons with the Eagles, he played in 35 games and was credited with 55 tackles (27 solo), including six tackles for loss, three sacks and ten quarterback hits.
How Genard Avery Fits in Pittsburgh
Avery figures to compete for one of the backup outside linebacker jobs behind reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt and 2020 third-round pick Alex Highsmith.
Prior to the addition of Avery, the only depth piece behind Watt and Highsmith was former MVC Defensive Player of the Year Derrek Tuszka, who joined the Steelers’ practice squad on September 1, 2021, and was subsequently elevated to the active roster on September 25.
Tuszka appeared in 15 games last year and recorded 18 tackles, including one tackle for loss, two sacks, two quarterback hits and a forced fumble.
The Steelers could also conceivably move to bring back former Dallas Cowboys first-round pick Taco Charlton, who was signed to Pittsburgh’s practice squad in September 2021 before being elevated to the active roster on October 27. Charlton, 27, went on to appear in 11 games and was responsible for 18 tackles, two quarterback hits and a half a sack, according to Pro Football Reference. Charlton remains an unrestricted free agent.
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The Steelers’ offseason roster now features three former Memphis Tigers, with the other two being cornerback Arthur Maulet — who is back on a two-year contract he agreed to on March 12 — and wide receiver Anthony Miller, a former second-round pick of the Chicago Bears who was signed to a Reserve/Futures contract on January 24, 2022.
The Steelers originally signed Miller after a workout in October 2021.
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