Monday, March 24, 2014

Steelers Sign LB Arthur Moats To Strengthen Thin Corps

"I don't want to see anybody hurting and not playing any more....But if he doesn't, and I was the guy to end the streak, all right. That's a little notable, yeah." - http://tinyurl.com/ln2592u

The notable hit in question was to now retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre when the then-Buffalo Bills' linebacker Arthur Moats hit him on the third play from scrimmage in the December 5, 2010 contest against the Minnesota Vikings. He hit him so hard that it ended Favre's streak of NFL starts at 297 consecutive games. 

Moats hit him so hard that Favre even started spelling his own name correctly. 

Welcome to Pittsburgh, Mr. Moats. 

Per Steelers beat writer Gerry Dulac, the Steelers brass had met with Moats before they headed off to Orlando, Florida. 

They have signed him to a one-year contract to strengthen a thin, especially on the outside, linebacking corps. The terms of Moats' deal are $795,000 in total - $730,000 in salary with a $65,000 signing bonus - making them almost even with the NFL Salary Cap (maybe having approximately $250,000 or so to spare) depending on the terms of the Lance Moore deal.

Moats started 12 games at weak-side linebacker for the Bills last season and also played inside at the Buck. Word is that he can play either inside or outside in all four LB positions for the Steelers’ 3-4 defense. 

That is exactly the type of player the Steelers covet: tough, yet position flexible. 

The 26-year-old Moats was selected out of James Madison in the sixth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He ran an official 4.64/40 at that year's combine, but his fastest time was a 4.54/40. The 6'0", 250 pounder will be a major contributor on special teams, also. 

At the NFL Meetings in Orlando over the weekend, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin spoke of running back Le'Veon Bell as being "a talented player but a young player. It would be good to get a been-there, done-that type of guy in the room to maybe help him with growth and development."

The same can be said of the Steelers 2013 first-round draft pick, OLB Jarvis Jones. Jones showed flashes of real promise at the end of the season, so a "been-there, done-that" Moats can help in that maturation. 

Moats' addition likely signals the end of the 'James Harrison return' talk, and make the Steelers linebackers group one of the youngest in the league.