January 23, 2015 in NFL Personnel
Not much occurred this week in the NFL, with only three transactions taking place. The Patriots signed an extra defensive lineman as they continue their postseason run and the Steelers added a player from the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Pittsburgh Steelers sign DE Shawn Lemon
With their season over, the Steelers have turned their focus to the offseason. At the top of their offseason list is to find some reinforcements on defense and the signing of Lemon is just the beginning.
Playing for the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL last season, the 26-year old Lemon was a force, recording 13 sacks and tying a CFL record with eight forced fumbles in a single season.
For the Stampeders, he played defensive end, but the 6-foot-2, 250-pound pass rusher will transition to outside linebacker in the Steelers' 3-4 scheme.
After playing college football at Akron, Lemon went undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft and was never signed by a NFL team. He quickly signed with a CFL team and bounced between multiple CFL and Arena Football League teams for the next few seasons.
Playing for the Stampeders in 2013 and 2014, he finally found success. His breakout season this year helped spur Calgary to victory in the Grey Cup (the CFL's version of the Super Bowl).
Players have made the transition from the CFL to the NFL before and the most notable pass rusher is Cameron Wake of the Miami Dolphins. Wake has had plenty of success in Miami, recording 63 sacks in six seasons.
Pittsburgh's defense was inconsistent last season and they need help at outside linebacker. Four players saw snaps at outside linebacker, three are set to be free agents and the one left has underwhelmed thus far in his career. James Harrison is a free agent and will be 37 years old next season, Jason Worilds is a free agent, Arthur Moats is a free agent and Jarvis Jones––a first round pick in 2013––has three sacks in 21 career games.
At best, Lemon becomes part of the outside linebacker rotation for the Steelers next season. At worst, he is cut in training camp. The monetary value of a contract like this is not going to be much, so there is nothing wrong with this move for Pittsburgh.
The New England Patriots sign DL Joe Vellano.
The New England Patriots waive TE Steve Maneri.