Steelers Encouraged To Replace Cole Holcomb With Former Vikings Pro Bowler - Sport News

Steelers Encouraged To Replace Cole Holcomb With Former Vikings Pro Bowler

The Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves grappling with adversity when standout linebacker Cole Holcomb suffered a season-ending knee injury during a crucial Thursday night showdown with the Tennessee Titans. The question on the minds of many Steelers fans and pundits is how the team will fill the significant void left by Holcomb’s absence.

Steelers Urged to Replace Injured Cole Holcomb With Anthony Barr

An intriguing solution has been proposed by the NFL staff at Bleacher Report, who suggest that the Steelers explore the possibility of acquiring former Pro Bowl linebacker Anthony Barr from free agency.

“The Steelers already needed help at linebacker going into the Thursday night game against the Titans. Then Cole Holcomb suffered a season-ending knee injury, and the need became even worse,” the BR NFL staff noted. “The Steelers’ chances of continuing to win rely on playing good defense, so finding a veteran who can fill in could be crucial.”

The Steelers now face the challenge of securing a replacement who can step in seamlessly to maintain their defensive prowess.

“Anthony Barr is among the most qualified free agents to take that job. He started 10 games for the Cowboys last season and compiled 58 total tackles with two for a loss, a sack, and four quarterback hits.”

Will Steelers Look to Barr?

Barr stands out as a compelling candidate to address the Steelers’ linebacker needs. Although now 31 years old, most likely beyond the peak years of his career, he brings a wealth of experience and a history of remarkable accomplishments.

Barr enjoyed a four-year Pro Bowl run with the Minnesota Vikings from 2015 to 2018, showcasing his prowess as one of the NFL’s top linebackers. This impressive run ultimately earned him a lucrative five-year, $67.5 million contract with $33 million guaranteed.

In his final year with the Vikings in 2021, Barr notched 72 combined tackles, including three tackles for loss, five pass defenses, and a career-best three interceptions. His performance last season with the Dallas Cowboys, where he contributed 58 combined tackles, four quarterback hits, a sack, and two forced fumbles, further underscores his capabilities. If Barr can deliver anywhere from 40% to 50% of his 2021 performance, the Steelers would significantly bolster their defensive lineup with significant veteran depth.

The Key Questions Surrounding Anthony Barr

While Barr’s pedigree and experience make him an attractive option, questions inevitably arise about his readiness to integrate into the Steelers defense. Is he in game shape, having last seen action in 2022? Has his hamstring strain, which forced him to miss three games in that season, fully healed?

Barr’s career statistics are impressive, featuring 553 combined tackles, 41 tackles for loss, 48 quarterback hits, and 18.5 sacks across 112 games. He has also recorded five interceptions, eight forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries, and 32 pass defenses.

The Steelers are fortunate to have considerable depth at the linebacker position, even in the wake of Holcomb’s injury. Therefore, while not an imperative move, the prospect of adding Barr to their roster is certainly one worth considering. The Steelers have already bolstered their linebacking corps with the acquisitions of Elandon Roberts and Kwon Alexander in free agency, both of whom have proven to be formidable assets. Without Holcomb, they are set to play more prominent roles in the defensive lineup.

Acquiring a seasoned veteran like Barr would offer an additional advantage, injecting some vital leadership and mentorship into the linebacker room. Barr’s experience and expertise can serve as a valuable resource for the younger talents within the team, such as Mark Robinson. Robinson, a 7th-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, is one unproven linebacker who will be expected to rise to the occasion in the wake of Holcomb’s absence. At only 24 years of age, Robinson is still in the process of establishing a more secure foothold within the formidable Steelers defense. Barr’s guidance could be instrumental in nurturing his development among others on the roster.

While the decision to sign Barr remains uncertain, it is undeniable that his experience, past achievements, and potential contributions to the Steelers defense make him an appealing prospect.

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