NFL Media's Ian Rapoport and Albert Breer reported Wednesday night that former Chargers tight end Ladarius Green has agreed to a four-year, $20 million deal with the Steelers, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.
This is an intriguing move. Green has a tantalizing skill set that never fully bloomed playing behind Antonio Gates in San Diego. His speed and athleticism makes him a matchup nightmare for linebackers and slower-footed cover men, and Pittsburgh's enviable stable of wide receivers could turn the middle of the field into Green's playground.
Of course, that hinges on whether Green can translate that ability into production. Last season, he set modest career highs with 37 receptions for 429 yards and four touchdowns. It is perhaps telling that the Chargers opted to stay in business with Gates at 36 years old rather than move forward with the 25-year-old Green.
The Steelers obviously see the promise, but the contract tells us they're not putting all the eggs in the Green basket. The contract is a year-to-year deal, with Green making $5 million in 2016 and $6 million in 2017.
We saw Green as a potential bargain value heading into free agency because he's the type of untapped talent who can break out in the right role if paired with a top quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger certainly qualifies as that. This is an acquisition to watch.