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 cornerback Joe Haden and safety Tre Norwood.
Years with the Steelers: 5
Years in the NFL: 12
Contract Status: Free agent
Contract Details: The second-highest salary cap hit on the Steelers in 2021, Haden carries no dead money into next season.
Games played in 2021: 12 regular season, 1 postseason
Games started in 2021: 11 regular season, 1 postseason
Snaps (regular season): 631 (defense), 39 (special teams)
PFF score: 62.1 (67th of 122)
Notable stats (regular season): Haden had six passes defensed, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery (could have just as easily been ruled an interception), and 38 tackles.
Notes: The Steelers chose not to sign a contract extension with Joe Haden prior to the 2021 season. Turning 33 this offseason, Haden may not have a lot left in the tank in the NFL at his previous Pro Bowl level, but he still appears ready for more. If Haden truly understands that his role in the Steelers defense may be diminished moving forward, and the Steelers are not going to come close to the $7 million base salary he had last season, Haden could finish his career in Pittsburgh. We’ll see if both sides agree to this.
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 1
Contract Status: Signed through 2024
Contract Details: $848,610 salary cap hit for 2022. Would cost the Steelers $70,830 in dead money if released.
Games played in 2021: 17 regular season, 1 postseason
Games started in 2021: 3 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 388 (defense), 202 (special teams)
PFF score: 50.4 (90th of 94)
Notable stats (regular season): Norwood had one interception, four passes defensed, and 38 tackles, two of which were for loss.
Notes: Starting his very first NFL game, Tre Norwood did a really nice job for the Steelers in 2021 in sub-package football. Unfortunately, when Norwood was called on to play every snap in base defense, the results were not as encouraging. But for a seventh-round rookie, getting any production in his first year is really a bonus for the team. Norwood is likely to continue to contribute to the Steelers secondary moving forward, and will always be remembered as the player who got a late-game interception in order to give Ben Roethlisberger one more snap at Heinz Field.
So what do you think? How would you conduct Haden’s and Norwood’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:
Ben Roethlisberger & Najee Harris
Eric Ebron & Pat Freiermuth
Trai Turner & Kendrick Green
Chuks Okorafor & Dan Moore Jr.
Robert Spillane & Buddy Johnson
Montravius Adams & Isaiahh Loudermilk