The Pittsburgh Steelers currently have an open spot on their 90-player off-season roster and, if I had any say in the matter, it would be filled with a seasoned outside quarterback before boot camp begins. On Monday, the Chicago Bears cut ties with a seasoned outsider, and I wouldn’t be shocked or disappointed, if the Steelers went after him on the cheap. The player I’m talking about is none other than Jeremiah Atacho.
Attaochu, who was originally selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft from Georgia Tech by the San Diego Chargers, has become quite the go-getter over the years. He signed a two-year contract with the Bears in March 2021 having previously played in 74 games with 23 games in seven NFL seasons with the Chargers (2014-17), New York Jets (2018) and Denver Broncos (2019-20), accumulating 144 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 31 stops, 42 quarterbacks and four forced saves. The 29-year-old edge-tighter also spent time during his off seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (2018) and Kansas City Chiefs (2019).
Last season, Attaochu was listed as Bears Reserve/Injured in mid-October after suffering a torn chest. Before suffering that injury, he played 129 defensive shots en route to only getting two tackles sets. By all accounts, Attaochu is now fully recovered from that injury, and participated in the Bears OTA exercises this summer.
So why are the Bears now breaking up with Atacho, who was set to earn $2.45 million in 2022? My best guess is that it mostly has to do with it’s no longer a proper scheme as the Bears are turning to a 4-3 defense under new coach Matt Eberflus. Attaochu was basically a 3-4 outside player throughout his career in the NFL as well as in college. He played some 4-3 defense in his last year of college.
The Steelers came out of the mandatory junior camp with an outside quarterback depth scheme clearly under the title of TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith. However, behind these two players are newcomers Jenard Avery and Tozar Skipper, 2021’s Derek Tosca and Delontay Scott, and unoccupied junior agents Tyre Johnson and T.D. Mullen. This is not a great set of backups, in my honest opinion.
Obviously, Attaochu’s best years were now gone, and he had had problems staying healthy over the years. However, he should come on the cheap now for a team looking for an experienced outside full-back player late in the season. Will the Steelers consider signing him? we will see.