It has been a long time since the Pittsburgh Steelers had a busy free agency. In 2022, the Steeler’s free agency period was one of the busiest in the league. Pittsburgh never pays their player’s big money, well other than a certain number seven of course. This year, however, they decided to splash the cash and bring in several new faces. In his last offseason as the Steelers GM, Kevin Colbert is going all out to keep the Steelers in contention.
With the AFC West making a mockery of the “CAP” the Steelers had to be busy if they had any hope. “The standard is the standard”. Unfortunately, the famous Mike Tomlin quote in recent years means sneaking into the playoffs and losing in the wild card round. Quite simply this isn’t good enough for one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. With Roethlisberger enjoying retirement, the Steelers had to be busy, and busy they were. Let’s take a look at what they have been up to.
Steelers Free Agency Quarterback
In a previous article here at Steeler Report, we discussed the main needs of the Pittsburgh Steelers. In our humble opinion, they were Quarterback, Offensive Line, and Secondary help. You could argue that Quarterback is the most important but really, all were necessities. How have the Steelers done so far?
I for one would argue that Quarterback is the most important and the Steelers wasted little time. After being linked to just about every Quarterback in the league, the Steelers signed Mitchell Trubisky to a two-year deal. After being linked to players like Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, Trubisky might feel like a disappointment. I disagree. If we had brought in either Rodgers or Wilson that would have us done in Free Agency. Just look at their contracts. Rodger’s is getting 150 million over three years and Wilson is likely to get something similar.
Paying Mitchell Trubisky a measly 14 million dollars means that the Steelers can add in more faces. We all know that barring a miracle, Mitchburgh is not the long-term solution. But a team-friendly contract like the one he has signed means the Steelers can still target a Quarterback in the draft if they so desire. As bridge Quarterbacks go, Trubisky isn’t all bad. He did lead the Chicago Bears to the playoffs after all. Not an easy feat. He was the part of that franchise as their offense had no weapons or decent play calling. After spending a year behind Josh Allen, Pittsburgh could be the perfect situation for him. A young core of receivers, an absolute beast of a running back, and a red zone threat at the tight end position. Let’s get it Mitchell Trubisky. I’m completely on board.
Here We Go, Mitchburgh, Here We Go!!!
Further Notable Free Agency Additions
As previously mentioned, the Steelers Free Agency period had to tackle more than just the Quarterback position. Despite the addition of a mobile QB, the offensive line still required some work. The first move made by the organization was the retention of right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor. Chuks signed a three-year, 29.25 million dollar contract to stay in the black and gold. In 2021, he only allowed two sacks but did give up 11 penalties. Pittsburgh is clearly happy with him anchoring the right-hand side of the line. Improvements are desperate for the Steelers and the offensive line. Giving Chuks a contract like that shows that they must be confident he can improve moving forward.
Perhaps the best free-agent signing by the Steelers was the addition of James Daniels. The former Guard for the Chicago Bears signed a three-year 26.5 million dollar contract. After watching a season of poor offensive line play, Kevin Colbert wasn’t going to make the same mistake again. Daniels is young and just out of his rookie deal and figures to be the starter at right guard moving forward. A move that could signal Kendrick Green heading to the bench, and we will find out why in a moment.
Kendrick Green spent the 2021 season as the center for the Steelers. The addition of Mason Cole on a three-year deal would suggest that Green’s time as a center is over. With Dan Moore Jnr and Kevin Dotson making up the remaining places, Green could find himself on the bench quickly. Cole was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals and started 32 of 46 career games in the desert. He later played for the Minnesota Vikings before finding his new home in Steel City.
Steelers Defensive Additions
They do have one of the best defenses in football but even it had its flaws in 2021. TJ Watt had a career year and Cam Heyward rolled back the years as he racked up numerous sacks and even chased Justin Herbert down half a field. Outside of the odd other players, the defense was unusually susceptible to the run and the big passing play.
The first addition was the retention of defensive tackle, Montravius Adams. The former third-round pick by the Green Bay Packers put pen to paper on a two-year, 5 million dollar contract. In the five games he played for Pittsburgh, he recorded eight tackles, three quarterback hits, and a tackle for a loss. He is a handy option to have at nose tackle in case Tyson Alualu misses more time.
In the secondary, the Steelers kept one player and brought in another. The former Buffalo Bill cornerback Levi Wallace joined the black and gold on a two-year, 8 million dollar contract. With Joe Haden set to hit free agency, the steelers had to bring someone in to help out. In each of his last three seasons, the cornerback has two interceptions. He will join his college alumni Minkah Fitzpatrick in the Pittsburgh secondary.
On top of the Wallace signing, the Steelers also brought back Ahkello Witherspoon. Pittsburgh doesn’t have a great history at drafting players to the secondary, these moves in free agency should prevent them from concentrating on the position in the 2022 NFL Draft. Who knows, there might be a honey badger wearing black and gold as well.
Steelers Best Free Agency Addition
Despite the Quarterback being the most important in my opinion, the best Steelers free agency addition was made on the defensive side of the ball. Joe Schobert has been released and Devin Bush did not have a good season in 2021. Kevin Colbert went out and brought in the former Jacksonville Jaguar linebacker, Myles Jack. The inside linebacker is adept at playing the run and dropping back into coverage. He will be an excellent role model for Devin Bush and with Brian Flores coaching them, they could be one of the best pairings in the league.
He is one of the pricier additions that Kevin Colbert brought in, but one that could be an absolute home run for this defense. That front seven is frightfully scary. Heyward, Alualu, Tuitt, Watt, Jack, Bush, and Highsmith. That is a defense that could lead a team all the way to the Super Bowl.