The top fill-in starter for Von Miller and Bradley Chubb over the past three seasons, Malik Reed has a new home. The Broncos are sending the veteran outside linebacker to the Steelers, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
Denver will collect a late-round pick for the contract-year linebacker. While Reed has been a productive pass rusher, the Broncos made some moves this offseason to bolster that position. The depth acquired made Reed expendable, it appears.
After the Broncos traded the best pass rusher in team history (Miller) at last year’s deadline, they went to work in adding to that position this offseason. The team signing Randy Gregory and used its top draft choice (No. 64 overall) on Nik Bonitto. Denver also moved 2021 inside linebacker starter Baron Browning to the edge, and NFL.com’s James Palmer adds (via Twitter) the team is high on the former third-round pick after the training camp he put together at the new position.
A Reed trade has also loomed as a possibility for months due to his arrival before George Paton became the Broncos’ GM. Chubb is now the only OLB left from the John Elway regime, with the Broncos also rostering 2021 seventh-rounder Jonathan Cooper. Though Cooper’s spot may not be completely safe. Chubb and Gregory’s injury issues still may prompt the Broncos to prioritize depth at the position. But they felt enough depth was present to unload Reed, who will have a clearer role in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers, who cut edge rusher Genard Avery earlier this month, have featured an OLB need for a bit now. They traded Melvin Ingram last year, creating a void behind starters T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. Reed stands to play the same role he did in Denver, though Miller and Chubb’s injuries often simply made him a starter.
A 2019 UDFA, Reed has registered 13 sacks over the past two years. Since 2019, the Nevada alum has made 34 starts. One season remains on the 26-year-old OLB’s contract; the Broncos tendered Reed at the original-round level as an RFA this year.