Amid a flurry of activity that prompted the NFL to send a warning letter to every team about not consummating contracts with outside players before the start of free agency, the Pittsburgh Steelers made a couple of typical Steelers moves.
The team quietly signed outside linebacker Arthur Moats to a three-year contract Monday, adding experienced depth and a reliable player at a position where they need both. They also signed veteran tight end Matt Spaeth to a two-year contract.
Neither signing will cause much more than a ripple outside of Pittsburgh, but they are significant for the Steelers.
Moats joins Jarvis Jones as the only Steelers outside linebackers who are signed for 2015 and have NFL experience.
Moats would have been an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, but the Steelers locked up the player who started 10 games for them last season and also contributed on special teams.
Spaeth, who also would have been an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday, will reprise his role as Heath Miller’s backup and a valued blocker when the Steelers use two-tight end sets.
Moats, who turns 27 next week, played every game in 2014 and recorded 23 tackles and four sacks. The fifth-year veteran forced a pair of fumbles and recovered one while also making six tackles on special teams.
Moats gives the Steelers insurance at outside linebacker with Jason Worilds expected to sign elsewhere and a market that could make it tough for the Steelers to sign a coveted pass-rusher to replace Worilds.
Spaeth caught three passes for 46 yards and a touchdown last season but he played extensively as an extra blocker in two tight-end sets.
The Steelers have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to sign their own free agents before the start of free agency.
They have already re-signed three of their free agents, including veteran long snapper Greg Warren.
Their other free agents include Brice McCain, who should be a priority for the Steelers as far as re-signing, outside linebacker James Harrison, safety Will Allen, cornerback Ike Taylor and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.