Pittsburgh added some desperately needed depth to its defensive line in a move that saw the Steelers sign Ricardo Mathews. Terms of Ricardo Mathews contract have not been announced yet, but he is believed to have signed for the veteran minimum, which would be $760,000.
We have signed DE Ricardo Mathews to a one-year contract.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 31, 2016
Ricardo Mathews has been in the NFL since 2010, when the Indianapolis Colts selected him in the 7th round of the 2010 NFL Draft, taking him with the 283rd pick. Matthews played his entire rookie contract with the Colts, appearing in 52 games and making 6 starts. During his time in Indianapolis, Matthews defensed 4 passes, posted 1.5 sacks, and made 30 tackles.
The Colts did not resign Matthews in 2013, as Matthews opted to sign a 2 year contract with the San Diego Chargers. In San Diego, Matthews played both Nose Tackle and Defensive End, making 9 starts and recording 2 and a half sacks, 29 tackles while forcing four fumbles.
Based on available information, the Steelers are likely looking at Matthews as backup.
Matthews Welcome, but Steelers Defensive Line Depth Still Thin
Ricardo Matthews is a welcome addition to the Steelers defensive line, but he should be seen as a replacement for unsigned Cam Thomas as opposed to recent free agent defector Stevey McLendon. Even with his addition to the depth chart, defensive line remains one of the Steelers thinnest spots.
In Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, the Pittsburgh Steelers have two outstanding defensive ends. Daniel McCullers remains an interesting prospect at nose tackle, but he has a lot to prove after making minimal improvements from 2014 to 2015. The Steelers will also bring back L.T. Walton, whom they picked up in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
- Beyond that the cupboard remains very thin.
The Steelers do have Caushaud Lyons, a waiver wire pick up just prior to 2015’s opening day, but Lyons was never active during the season and does not have any game day experience from his time in Tampa Bay.
Per Mark Kaboly’s report on the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the Steelers have used up a total of 13 million dollars in 2016 salary cap space to sign free agents, including their own.