Steelers To Sign LB Cole Holcomb

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In on the Leighton Vander Esch market, the Steelers will instead end up with another linebacker who spent his rookie-contract years in the NFC East. They are signing former Commanders linebacker Cole Holcomb, Tom Pelissero of tweets.

The Commanders wanted to bring back the former fifth-round pick, John Keim of adds (on Twitter), but the sides were too far apart on value. Holcomb, 26, is heading to Pittsburgh on a three-year deal.

Although Holcomb is coming off an injury-abbreviated contract year, he started throughout his four-year Washington tenure. He finished the 2021 season with 142 tackles, two interceptions — one of them a pick-six — and seven pass deflections, and Pro Football Focus graded the ex-North Carolina Tar Heel as a top-25 off-ball linebacker that year. He will join a Steelers team that ultimately did not see enough from former first-round pick Devin Bush, who is now a free agent.

Last year, Holcomb suffered a foot injury that ultimately required surgery. He underwent the procedure in December, but that did not impede a multiyear contract. The Commanders have already agreed to terms with ex-Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton, though Keim notes the team is still aiming to add another piece at that position.

Many ILBs have come off the board already, though a few options remain. Lavonte David and Bobby Wagner may be eyeing roles with surefire Super Bowl contenders, but Bush, Deion Jones, Zach Cunningham, Denzel Perryman and Rashaan Evans are available heading into the 2023 league year.

Pittsburgh still rosters 2022 free agency pickup Myles Jack, who is going into the second season of his two-year deal, but lost Robert Spillane to the Raiders on Tuesday. Spillane started 15 games over the past three seasons with Pittsburgh, which did not pick up Bush’s fifth-year option in 2022.

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