The Pittsburgh Steelers knew they were going to have a difficult time retaining a number of their free agents; however, there was always hope the team would be able to find a way to keep several key members of the team.
After locking up Cam Sutton to a two-year deal on Day 1 of the NFL’s legal tampering period, the hope was the team would be able to retain a veteran player like Tyson Alualu. On Day 2 of the tampering period news broke Alualu would be going back to where his NFL career began with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Congrats to @TysonAlualu for agreeing to a 2-year deal with @Jaguars. Where it all started and back with Coach Lupoi and Coach Joe D. Great story for a great guy! #NFLFreeAgency #NFL #calfootball @PrioritySports— Kenny Zuckerman (@kenny_zuckerman) March 16, 2021
To make matters worse, when the news was released of Alualu’s contract, it certainly made it seem as if the Steelers could have tried to keep him if they felt there was still value there. As Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported, Alualu signed a two-year, $6 million dollar contract with the Jaguars.
It's a two-year, $6 million deal for DT Tyson Alualu with the #Jaguars, per source.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 16, 2021
Alualu found success in his four years in Pittsburgh where he totaled 7.0 sacks and 140 tackles. Specifically in 2020 once taking over the starting nose tackle job, Alualu finished the season ranked as the ninth-best interior defensive lineman in all the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.
The Steelers will now be forced to try and fill Alualu’s shoes either through the 2021 NFL Draft, or through free agency. Another option would to just promote from within, in which case the attention would turn to Isaiah Buggs and/or Carlos Davis to step up and try to fill the vacancy at the NT/DE position.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the rest of free agency, the start of the new league year and the 2021 NFL Draft.