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Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly interested in signing All-Pro defender this offseason

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Atlanta Falcons

The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t won a playoff game since 2017, sending them into the 2023 NFL offseason looking for pieces that could help the franchise take a step forward. While the offense is the biggest area for improvement, Pittsburgh’s defense could also get some help.

While the Steelers’ defense largely held its own this past season, it hasn’t approached its usual elite standard in several seasons. Pittsburgh ranked 19th in Football Outsiders’ Pass DVOA, with a strong pass rush not enough to make up for bad play in the secondary.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers defensive stats (2022): 86.8 average QB rating allowed, 5.4% touchdown rate, 7.5 yards per attempt allowed

Pittsburgh allowed the fourth-highest ypa (7.5) during the regular season, with opponents averaging 222.3 passing yards per game despite facing a productive front seven. While the Steelers’ front office might be prioritizing offensive improvement in 2023, at least one impact defender seems to be on the team’s radar in free agency.

According to 93.7 The Fan’s Andrew Fillipponi, the buzz coming out of Super Bowl week was that the Steelers will be interested in pursuing Marcus Peters in free agency.

Related: Top NFL free agents 2023

Peters, a four-time All-Pro selection, hasn’t played at an elite level since the 2019 season. However, the 30-year-old cornerback would provide some playmaking ability in Pittsburgh’s secondary. After missing the 2021 season, peters returned in 2022 and held up relatively well in coverage.

  • Marcus Peters career stats: 92 pass deflections, 32 interceptions, six pick-sixes

Operating as the Baltimore Ravens’ No. 2 cornerback, Peters earned a 69.5 coverage grade from PFF and a 78.3 pass rush grade. While quarterbacks posted a 116.3 passer rating against Peters in coverage, he improved as the season went on and didn’t allow more than 68 receiving yards in a single game after Week 1.

Peters is a risk-taker and that makes him a volatile option for the Steelers’ defense. However, his experience would make him a welcome addition and a healthy pass rush could create the consistent pressure that forces quarterbacks to make risky throws in Peters’ direction.

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