LB Patrick Queen Rejected More Valuable Offers Before Signing With Steelers

The Steelers’ most notable defensive addition this offseason was the signing of linebacker Patrick Queen. The former Raven made an intra-divisional move on a deal which includes no money guaranteed beyond its first year.

Queen signed for $41MM on a three-year pact which includes $13.84MM fully guaranteed for 2024. After that, though, the deal includes roster bonuses which will allow the Steelers to proceed on a year-to-year basis. Considering Queen’s age (24) and production, it came as a surprise he agreed to a contract with such a structure. When explaining his free agent decision, he confirmed he left money on the table.

“From all the 15 teams that I was talking to, it came down to like five at the end,” the former first-rounder said during an appearance on Steelers DB (video link).“It was just like five teams in the mix. Some of them were offering $17 [million per year]. After that it was like, I have a chance to either go win or I have a chance to get paid. For me, the difference was like $4 or $5 million.

“I’m looking at it like, I’ve never been on a losing team before, and then I also don’t want to be a part of anything being rebuilt because I’m trying to win now… I’m really just trying to win right now, get that out the way and then get paid later.”

Queen’s deal checks in at an AAV of $13.67MM, the fifth-highest figure in the league amongst inside linebackers. Roquan Smith‘s Ravens extension, signed shortly after he was acquired via trade, continues to top the market at $20MM per season. The fact Baltimore already had Smith on the books was one of the signs indicating Queen would be playing elsewhere in 2024. Indeed, a report from last month indicated the Ravens did not attempt to re-sign the LSU product this offseason.

That will certainly add a new layer of intrigue to the Ravens-Steelers rivalry for at least one more season. Queen posted a career-high 133 tackles in 2023, adding 3.5 sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. Those figures earned him a Pro Bowl nod and second-team All-Pro honors, and he will aim to build off that acclaim as a central figure on Pittsburgh’s defense. If player and team have success, the below-market agreement will prove to be a worthwhile commitment on both sides.

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