Steelers add picks, backup linebacker

March 24, 2014

The Steelers got some good news from the NFL Monday, receiving three compensatory picks in this year’s draft for free agent losses last year.

Meanwhile, the Steelers added some much-needed linebacker depth, signing Buffalo free agent Arthur Moats to a one-year deal.

The Steelers received a third-round pick (97th overall), a fifth-round selection (173rd) and sixth-round pick (215th) via the formula the NFL uses to balance free agent signings and losses.

Pittsburgh received the picks for losing wide receiver Mike Wallace, cornerback Keenan Lewis, running back Rashard Mendenhall and safeties Ryan Mundy and Will Allen.

Interestingly, Allen, who signed with Dallas last season, was released a month into the season and re-signed with the Steelers.

The Steelers were counting on receiving at least the third-round pick. They traded their third-round selection in 2014 to Cleveland for the Browns’ fourth-round pick last year, using it to take safety Shamarko Thomas.

With the additional three picks, the Steelers have nine selections in the draft, which runs May 8 through 10.

Moats, 26, visited the Steelers Monday and signed a one-year deal worth $795,000.

The 6-2, 250-pound Moats played weakside linebacker for the Bills last season, starting 12 games and making 59 tackles.

He is expected to back up outside linebackers Jarvis Jones and Jason Worilds, provide depth at inside linebacker and play special teams.

With the signing of Moats, the Steelers apparently have no need to re-sign linebacker James Harrison, who was released two weeks ago by Cincinnati.

Harrison, released by the Steelers in a salary cap-related move in the 2013 offseason, told the NFL Network he would like to return to the Steelers, who lacked depth at linebacker after the release of LaMarr Woodley and Larry Foote March 11.

The Steelers also have shown an interest in free agent running back LeGarrette Blount, who had been scheduled to visit Sunday. That visit was pushed back to Friday.

Dale Lolley has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1993 after previously working at WJAC-TV and the Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown, and The Derrick in Oil City. A native of Fryburg, Pa., he is a graduate of North Clarion High School and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where he earned a degree in journalism. He has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers since joining the Observer-Reporter in 1993, and also serves as the outdoors editor. He also is a radio host for Pittsburgh’s ESPN 970-AM, and serves as administrative adviser for the Red & Black, Washington & Jefferson College’s student newspaper.

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