The Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 NFL season has come to a close. Because the Steelers are among the 31 teams who did not finish fulfilling their ultimate goal, they are in the process of wrapping up their season and moving forward into 2022.
Since the Steelers conduct exit interviews with all their players, we here at BTSC thought we would do the same. By outlining two players each day, we will be able to look at their season in retrospect as well as looking toward the future. Since Coach Tomlin stated he starts his interviews with rookies, first year players, and those heading into free agency, we will do the same. To start, we will pair a potential free agent with a first-year player as we work through this process to eventually cover the entire Steelers roster.
Next up is tight ends Eric Ebron and Pat Freiermuth.
Position: Tight End
Years with the Steelers: 2
Years in the NFL: 8
Contract Status: Free agent
Contract Details: Contract expiring with void years remaining. $3.904 million dollars is due to count toward the 2022 salary cap.
Games played in 2021: 8 regular season
Games started in 2021: 3 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 246 (offense), 1 (special teams)
PFF score:48.4 (DNQ for ranking)
Notable stats (regular season): Ebron had 12 receptions on 18 targets for 84 yards and one receiving touchdown; one rush for 1 yard and one rushing touchdown.
Notes: As the 2021 season rolled on, it became more obvious that Pratt Freiermuth was the first option at tight end over Eric Ebron before he was lost for the season due to a knee injury. Ebron caught a touchdown on his last reception of the year and was injured on the play. As an upcoming free agent, it’s unlikely the Steelers would keep Ebron for anything more than the veteran minimum, and even then it would be questionable if they would bring him back for that much.
Position: Tight end
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 1
Contract Status: Signed through 2024
Contract Details: $1,370,041 salary cap hit for 2022. Would cost the Steelers $2,242,107 in dead money if released.
Games played in 2021: 16 regular season, 1 postseason
Games started in 2021: 9 regular season, 1 postseason
Snaps (regular season): 683 (offense), 41 (special teams)
PFF score:72.9 (11th of 74)
Notable stats (regular season): Freiermuth had 60 receptions on 79 targets for 487 yards and seven touchdowns.
Notes: Coming up one short of tying Heath Miller for the Steelers record in receiving touchdowns in a season for a tight end, Freiermuth did not find the end zone over the last four weeks of the Steelers season. Granted, he missed the Steelers first matchup with the Chiefs due to a concussion. Even though he was utilized throughout the entire season, it was more obvious in the later portion that Freiermuth became one of the top options in the Steelers offense. With such a young and reliable safety net at the position, Freiermuth will be a good weapon for the Steelers next quarterback in 2022.
So what do you think? How would you conduct Ebron’s and Freiermuth’s exit interview? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Make sure you check back each day for another set of exit interviews. If you have missed any of the previous articles, they are listed here: