Few paid attention when Arthur Moats joined the Steelers a year ago, but his status as a Steelers free agent will be watched closely throughout Steelers Nation.
Capsule Profile of Arthur Moats with the Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers were incredibly active in the free agent market during the 2014 off season. Suffice to say the arrivals of Mike Mitchell, Lance Moore and Cam Thomas generated far more interest and excitement than did the Steelers decision to sign Arthur Moats.
- Yet, perhaps it was Moats who had the last laugh, as he arguably out performed all three of them.
With four seasons as a part time starter for the Buffalo Bills, Moats brought Pittsburgh a pedigree of a part time starter. He wasn’t expected to play much, but the injury to Jarvis Jones changed that. Moats came in that night and almost immediately registered another sack.
While that move was impressive, the Steelers depth was thin (to say the least) and Mike Tomlin wasted no time in taking the Red Phone to James Harrison. Harrison’s return was one of the biggest stories of the season for the Steelers – for good reason, as he played incredibly well.
- But that overshadowed some solid play for Moats at key moments during the season.
Moats came up with a sack in the Steelers win vs. the Ravens on Sunday Night Football. He also came up with key sacks and a fumble recovery in the road victory over Cincinnati, a game which in many ways served as a pivotal moment for the Steelers defense. Overall he had 23 tackles, forced two fumbles, and ESPN credited him with one “stuff.”
The Case for Keeping Arthur Moats
Despite his strong play in key situations, Moats does not project into a full-time starter at outside linebacker. But the Steelers don’t need him to be. Moats has shown that he can do what a backup is supposed to do – to step in when needed and contribute.
He looks like a serviceable player, one who could play the type of role at outside linebacker that Nick Eason and/or Travis Kirschke played at defensive end. Beyond that, Moats also has experience playing inside linebacker, adding valuable position flexibility to the defense.
The Case Against Keeping Arthur Moats
It’s hard to write this and keep a straight face, but due diligence demands it, so here goes. The Steelers need their outside linebackers to be stars. Sure Arthur Moats is “serviceable” but he’s hardly a star. Going on age 27 after 5 years in the NFL what you see from Arthur Moats is what you get. How much more “upside” does Moats have?
Sure the Steelers need “depth” at outside linebacker, but is Moats really the best they can do?
Curtain’s Call on Steelers and Arthur Moats
In the final analysis Moats is a great fit for the Steelers. While he’s no world beater, he is a solid player who came in, learned the system, and stepped up to make plays at critical moments during the season.
The Steelers need to be cautious here. Moats is not going to get “gobs” of money thrown at him, but he could easily fall into the category of free agents that the Steelers found Jerricho Cotchery and Al Woods falling into in last year, players who get offered more than the Steelers expected or were prepared to pay.
In that sense, the Steelers would be wise to get Moats locked down to a 2-3 year deal before he hits the open market.