The Steelers have signed LB Jon Bostic to a two-year deal, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Pittsburgh has been quiet since free agency officially opened earlier this week, and Bostic represents the club’s first free agent signing of the new league year.
And it’s a signing the team needed to make. As PFR observed last month, the Steelers’ top priority this offseason was to find a way to replace the production of Ryan Shazier, who will miss the entirety of the 2018 season (at least). Pittsburgh’s run defense collapsed after Shazier’s horrific injury last season, as five of the Steelers’ final six opponents surpassed 100 rushing yards, and the team yielded 164 yards on the ground to the Jaguars in the AFC Divisional Round matchup, damaging the franchise’s hopes of parlaying its first bye in seven years into at least a return to the AFC title game.
Bostic, whom the Bears selected in the second round of the 2013 draft, was a solid, if unspectacular, performer for Chicago during his first two years in the league. He was traded to the Patriots prior to the 2015 campaign but was not as productive in New England as he had been in the Windy City. However, after spending all of 2016 on IR following a trade to Detroit, he turned in a strong 2017 season for the Colts, starting 14 games and posting a career-high 97 tackles along with one sack, one fumble recovery, and three passes defended. He also graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 40 linebacker in the NFL, a career best, and he was listed as PFR’s 14th-best FA linebacker in this year’s free agent class.
Unless the Steelers make another move either in free agency or the draft, Bostic will pair with Vince Williams to form the starting ILB tandem for Pittsburgh in 2018.