3 Most Likely Replacements for Vince Williams Following His Retirement

Devon Platana
3 potential Vince Williams replacements.
3 potential Vince Williams replacements. / Joe Sargent/Getty Images
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Following a disappointing end to the 2020 NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers were hoping to find more success in the upcoming campaign. Unfortunately, that became a bit harder after linebacker Vince Williams — who the Steelers drafted in 2013 — announced his shocking retirement. Now, Pittsburgh is left scrambling for a replacement just days ahead of training camp.

Fortunately, there are still several serviceable free-agent names out there that the Steelers can bring in to fill Williams' void. Even if the team doesn't like who's left in free agency, Pittsburgh also has internal options to consider.

Here are the three most likely replacements for Williams following his retirement.

Pittsburgh Steelers Rumors

1. K.J. Wright

At one point, it looked like LB K.J. Wright could possibly return to the Seattle Seahawks. While that's still a possibility, nothing has materialized so far, so there's a good chance that he could go elsewhere. He's a former Pro-Bowler who won Super Bowl with the Seahawks back in the 2013 season, so he has a proven track record that would make Pittsburgh more credible. He's also played 16 games in each of the past two seasons, meaning the Steelers could trust him on a weekly basis. At this stage of the offseason, Wright's price has likely dropped a lot and signing him to a cheap deal would be a bargain for a player that had 86 total tackles, 2.0 sacks and an interception last year.

2. Kwon Alexander

A 2017 Pro-Bowler, Kwon Alexander's was released by the New Orleans Saints back in March and has yet to find a home. Some teams might be concerned due to the fact that he's only played more than 12 games once in his six-year NFL career, however, the Steelers should take the risk. He still managed to record 57 total tackles, 2 forced fumbles and a sack last year and he's only 26 years old, so there's still time for him to get his career back on track. Even if the Steelers sign him to a cheap one-year contract, it's a low-risk, high-reward situation. If he flops, it's no big deal. If he succeeds and gets back (or at least close) to his Pro Bowl level, that's definitely a win for Pittsburgh.

3. Buddy Johnson

There's always the possibility that the Steelers don't want to pursue any free-agent linebackers, which means they could turn their attention to rookie Buddy Johnson. Pittsburgh selected him with their fourth-round pick at the 2021 NFL Draft, so they definitely have some sort of expectations for him. Out of his four years at Texas A&M, 2020 was certainly Johnson's best season as he recorded 85 total tackles (7.5 for a loss), 4.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and an interception returned for a Pick-6. College stats don't always translate over to the NFL level, especially for a fourth-round pick, but the Steelers might not have a choice but to try Johnson as a starter and see how things work out.


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