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 linebacker Joe Schobert and defensive tackle Tyson Alualu.
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 6
Contract Status: Signed through 2024 with one additional void year
Contract Details: $9,722,000 salary cap hit for 2022. Would only cost the Steelers $1,888,000 in dead money if released.
Games played in 2021: 16 regular season, 1 postseason
Games started in 2021: 15 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 921 (defense), 77 (special teams)
PFF score: 53.6 (49th of 87)
Notable stats (regular season): Schobert had 112 tackles, two of which were for loss, one quarterback hit, one forced fumblel, one interception, and six passes defensed.
Notes: The biggest issue with Joe Schobert moving forward with the Steelers is the salary he is owed based on the contract he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Although the Steelers are not on the hook for his signing bonus, the Steelers did restructure Schobert and added a void year to his contract. At almost $10 million, Schobert is the fifth-highest player under contract for the Steelers when it comes to the salary cap. So do the Steelers want to try to rework Schobert’s deal, or do they simply want to do a restructure for one more season to knock down the number before his base salary reaches more than $10 million in 2023? As much as salary is the issue with Schobert moving forward, his production, much like that of Devin Bush, could be greatly improved if the Steelers solidify their defensive line. One of the biggest questions of this offseason is if the Steelers move forward with Schobert, restructure his deal, or release him and save more than $7.5 million against the salary cap.
Position: Defensive tackle
Years with the Steelers: 5
Years in the NFL: 12
Contract Status: Signed through 2022
Contract Details: $3,462,500 salary cap hit for 2022. Would cost the Steelers $962,500 in dead money if released.
Games played in 2021: 2 regular season
Games started in 2021: 2 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 57 (defense), 4 (special teams)
PFF score: 59.7 (DNQ for ranking)
Notable stats (regular season): Alualu had five tackles and one quarterback hit.
Notes: Despite turning 35 before the beginning of the 2022 NFL season, Tyson Alualu is prepared to come back for the final year of his contract with Steelers. With his salary cap number not that devastating, the only issue with Alualu is if he is still mostly the same player the Steelers had for a full season in 2020. If so, he will be a welcomed return for the Steelers’ defensive front.
So what do you think? How would you conduct Schobert’s and Alualu’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
Joe Haden & Tre Norwood
Christian Kuntz & Pressley Harvin
JuJu Smith-Schuster & Cody White
J.C. Hassenauer & John Leglue
Marcus Allen & Tegray Scales
James Washington & Chase Claypool
Taco Charlton & Alex Highsmith
Ahkello Witherspoon & James Pierre
B.J. Finney & Kevin Dotson
Kalen Ballage & Anthony McFarland
Stephon Tuitt & Carlos Davis
Ray-Ray McCloud & Diontae Johnson
Terrell Edmunds & Miles Killebrew
Dwayne Haskins & Joshua Dobbs
Arthur Maulet & Justin Layne
Cam Heyward & Henry Mondeaux
T.J. Watt & Derrek Tuszka
Zach Genry & Kevin Rader
Derek Watt & Benny Snell Jr.
Chris Boswell & Mason Rudolph
Devin Bush & Ulysees Gilbert III