Steelers Land Another Former Ravens Defensive Starter

The Pittsburgh Steelers have added to their defensive with another former Baltimore Ravens drafted pick. Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz reported on March 14 that the Steelers have signed free agent safety DeShon Elliott.

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Schultz reported the Steelers signed Elliott to a 2-year, $6 million deal.

Elliott spent four seasons with the Ravens from 2018-21. He also played for the Detroit Lions in 2022 and Miami Dolphins last season.

“Breaking: Free agent safety Deshon Elliott is signing with the Steelers for 2 years, $6 million,” wrote Schultz on X (formerly Twitter).

The Ravens drafted Elliott at No. 190 overall in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL draft. After playing only six games in his first two seasons, Elliott became a regular starter for Baltimore in 2020.

Over the past four seasons, he started 50 contests for the Ravens, Lions and Dolphins. During 2023, he posted 82 combined tackles, including 1 tackle for loss with 7 pass defenses and 1 interception in 15 games for Miami.

How DeShon Elliott Fits With the Steelers

After releasing Keanu Neal, who started eight games for the Steelers in 2023, Pittsburgh needed to at least add safety depth this offseason. Preferably, that depth would come in the form of another starting safety.

The Steelers landed that at an affordable price with Elliott.

Elliott spent the entire 2018 season on injured reserve because of a fractured forearm. He then ended the 2019 season after just six games due to a knee injury.

But in 2020, the Ravens had enough confidence in Elliott to name him a starter and release veteran Earl Thomas. Elliott started all 16 games, making 80 combined tackles with 2.5 sacks and 4 pass defenses in 2020.

Elliott remained a starter in 2021, but he ended the season on injured reserve because of biceps and pectoral injuries.

Over the past two seasons, Elliott started at least 13 games with the Lions and Dolphins. With Detroit, he registered a career-high 96 combined tackles in 2022. This past season, Elliott had a career-best 7 pass defenses in Miami.

With his injury past seemingly behind him, Elliott arrives in Pittsburgh as the front runner to start next to 3-time All-Pro Minkah Fitzpatrick. The Steelers also have Damontae Kazee, who started nine games last season.

Pittsburgh’s Safety Depth, Salary Cap Situation After Signing Elliott

With the addition of Elliott, the Steelers have three starting caliber safeties on the roster. The Steelers also re-signed special teams ace and safety Miles Killebrew this offseason.

Furthermore, the Steelers have safeties Trenton Thompson and Jalen Elliott under contract for 2024.

Bringing back Eric Rowe, who finished the 2023 season as a starting safety for the Steelers, could be a possibility as well. But with the Elliott signing, the Steelers now appear to have decent depth at safety.

The Steelers added that depth with minimal impact on the salary cap too. The Steelers Depot estimated on its X account that Elliott will count as roughly a $2.06 million cap hit in 2024.

That cap hit will rise to just under $4 million the following season.

Assuming that’s accurate, the Steelers have about $14.88 million left in salary cap space. The team will likely target a wide receiver, veteran center and perhaps another cornerback with that available space.

The Steelers could create more cap room as well with restructured contracts or extensions for Fitzpatrick and fellow defensive back Donte Jackson, edge rushers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith and defensive lineman Cameron Heyward.

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