Photo courtesy of Silver and Black Pride.
For the second time in two days, the Steelers are signing a linebacker who has recently retired from the NFL. After signing Myles Jack, Pittsburgh will add veteran linebacker Blake Martinez.
Pittsburgh is signing Martinez off of Carolina’s practice squad. He had signed with the Panthers after coming out of a brief retirement following a productive career and he’s not seen game action since the midway point of last season.
Martinez was a 4th round pick by the Green Bay Packers out of Stanford in the 2016 NFL Draft. He had 4 solid seasons with the Packers totaling over 140 tackles 3 straight years between 2017-2019. He signed with the New York Giants as a free agent for 3-years and 30 million dollars before the 2020 season and during his first campaign in the Big Apple, Martinez racked up 151 tackles and 3 sacks for the Giants. His fortunes changed in 2021 though when he tore his ACL in week 3 and was lost for the season. He was released by the Giants before the 2022 season and was signed by the Las Vegas Raiders practice squad. He ended up playing 4 games in 2022 for the Raiders, before retiring in November from football.
Martinez is an old school linebacker who has laser focus on stopping the ball carrier. He plays downhill and fills lanes and gaps as good as anyone in the league. He breaks down effectively as a tackler and likes to put big hits on running backs. His coverage skills are average at best and has been known to pick off a pass every now and again.
However, Martinez can be tricked by play actions and in coverage situations will sometimes leave his coverage to chase the ball carrier. He does not have the speed to stay with running backs and tight ends after losing a step after his ACL surgery.
Blake Martinez is a tackling machine who will rack up tackles in his sleep. He will add depth to a position that is in need of bodies. Martinez, along with Myles Jack give the Steelers two good inside linebacker options that will be deployed right away.