Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Ladarius Green joining Steelers' crowded stable of playmakers

Jeremy FowlerESPN Staff Writer 9, 2016

San Diego Chargers lose to the Cincinnati Bengals 17-10 at Qualcomm Stadium last September. Ladarius Green hauls in this pass play for a 30 yard touchdown in the second quarter. — Sean M. Haffey/San Diego Union-Tribune

Weapons. Weapons. Weapons.
The list of them grows for Pittsburgh, who according to ESPN's Adam Schefter will sign Chargers tight end Ladarius Green, a player with obvious playmaking ability but who was situated behind Antonio Gates for four seasons in San Diego.
Contracts can't be completed until the new league year begins at 4 p.m. ET.
Antonio BrownLe'Veon BellMartavis BryantMarkus Wheaton, Green,DeAngelo WilliamsSammie Coates, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jesse James: the Steelers can certainly work with that playmaking group.
The Steelers feel Green is an adequate blocker, which is crucial for this offense, and he has flashed big-time potential at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds with decent speed. He scored four touchdowns in the Chargers' first six games last year. The question becomes: How does he respond from a sluggish second half of the year (11 catches for 125 yards in his final eight games while dealing with some injuries)? Otherwise, it is hard to complain with this signing, assuming the money is right.
It wouldn't be a shock to see Green earn around what Jordan Cameron got a year ago: a two-year deal worth around $15 million. Salary cap inflation could change that.
Green is not a Heath Miller replacement, or at least the Steelers won't look at it that way. This is a chance to sign an impact player at a position of need. And fifth-round pick James will be involved in the offense. The Steelers like him.
This frees up the Steelers to do what they need to do in the draft: bolster the defensive backfield.
The Steelers had around $12.6 million in salary cap space this week, according to ESPN's Roster Management System. Deals for William Gay, Heyward-Bey and Robert Golden will take close to $5 million in 2016 space. The Steelers can create more, of course.

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