The 2022 NFL offseason is underway, and there is less than a month to the beginning of the new league year. Before we know it, the free agent frenzy will be underway at noon on Monday, March 16, 2022. All free agents will be able to negotiate contracts at that time which can eventually be signed beginning on Wednesday, March 16, at 4 PM. With a lot of action ready to occur, many rosters in the NFL will look significantly different in a month.
So where do the Pittsburgh Steelers stand at this time? Are there any position groups in which they are fully set? Is there any particular group where the Steelers simply need to add a significant number of players?
The Steelers currently have 58 players under contract for 2022. With 32 more players coming before training camp, the Steelers will be able to spread around which positions they add between now and the end of July. Of course, adding to a number of these positions during free agency in the draft is the ultimate goal.
The way it stands now, the Steelers have 26 players on offense, 26 players on defense, and six specialists. The Steelers also have 17 players on offense who finished the 2021 season on there 53-man roster. Being almost completely balanced, the Steelers have 16 defensive players from their 2021 53-man roster not counting the players who finsihed the season on the Reserve/Injured List.
Here is the breakdown of how many players the Steelers currently have under contract at each position. The number in parentheses is how many players were on last year‘s 53-man roster.
Wide receiver: 7 (3)
Tight end: 4 (3)
Offensive tackle: 4 (3)
Guard: 4 (2)
Center: 1 (1)
Quarterback: 1 (1)
Running back: 4 (3)
Fullback: 1 (1)
Safety: 4 (2)
Outside linebacker: 5 (3)
Inside linebacker: 4 (3)
Defensive tackle: 9 (5)
Cornerback: 4 (3)
Punter: 2 (1)
Long snapper: 2 (1)
Kicker: 2 (1)
As Steelers’ fans can see, there are definitely some positions were the Steelers need to add some players before training camp. Here are the positions with the Steelers need to add to the most, meaning they are likely to add multiple players:
Quarterback: Currently the only player under contract for the Steelers is Mason Rudolph. Although there have been reports of the Steelers will offer an original-round restricted free agent tender to Dwayne Haskins, it has not been done at this time, nor has it been signed. Therefore the Steelers only have one player officially. But even if Haskins is in the mix, the Steelers are likely to add at least two more players going in to training camp.
Cornerback: The Steelers likely don’t have enough players under contract at cornerback to fill out certain dime packages at this time. Additionally, two of the three corners who were on the roster last year, James Pierre and Justin Layne, were kept off the field down the stretch unless there was an emergency. Whether it’s re-signing some of their own players, adding in free agency, or using the NFL draft, the Steelers will need several cornerbacks to add to the roster before late July.
Safety: Right now the only players the Steelers have at safety are there starting free safety in Minkah Fitzpatrick and his reserve of Tre Norwood. Another two players are both from the practice squad. So if the Steelers don’t bring back either of their strong safeties from 2021, they will need to add plenty at the position.
Inside linebacker: Even though the Steelers have four players who were on the 53-man roster at some point last season at the linebacker position (Buddy Johnson finish the year on IR), they still have less overall on the roster than what they had on the 53 last year. It may not be “starter quality” additions at the position, or it very well could be. Either way, the Steelers will need a couple more bodies.
Center: I have to address it because the Steelers only have one center on the team. Yes, John Leglue could be used there in a pinch, but I’m not sure he’s really the answer they are looking for. Additionally, J.C. Hassenauer is an exclusive rights free agent and isn’t going anywhere as long as the Steelers want him back. But if you count Hassenauer, the Steelers will likely add another player for center by training camp.
When it comes to all these position groups, the only place where the Steelers are unlikely to add any more players is their three specialist positions. As for the others, they are all a place where the Steelers could have somebody else in training camp. Of course there are some positions, such as tight end or fullback, where the Steelers wouldn’t have to bring in another person, it still wouldn’t be shocking if they did.
Additionally, the numbers of these position groups do not reflect if the Steelers would release a player. If that situation comes into play, it would make the position more likely to add multiple players.
Of course, it would be easy to look at all these position groups and choose one where the Steelers have a decent number of players, but ultimately would like to upgrade the quality at the position. This is usually the case going into every offseason. But looking strictly from a numbers standpoint, there are definitely holes that need filled at certain positions.