The Pittsburgh Steelers, and NFL for that matter, have officially hit the offseason. With a month before contracts officially expire, and the new league year begins, the Steelers will need to start game planning their future.
In this series we will look at every position group of the Pittsburgh Steelers and what the team will do with the players that were on the 2021 roster, and how they should rebuild the spots heading into the 2022 season!
Today we look at the Steelers tight end group which is the strongest the group has been since Heath Miller donned the Black and Gold. But could they do more and do they have to let Eric Ebron walk? That, and much more below.
The 2021 Roster
Pat Freiermuth (3 Years $1.37 Million)
Eric Ebron (UFA)
Zach Gentry (1 Year $1.05 Million)
Kevin Rader (1 Year $895 Thousand)
The Pittsburgh Steelers struck some gold in the 2021 NFL draft when they discovered tight end Pat Freiermuth in the second round. Freiermuth has already established himself as the best tight end the franchise has seen since Heath Miller was roaming the sidelines in Pittsburgh. For the first time since Miller was on the team the tight end position is one that the Steelers really don’t need to worry about upgrading. Pat Freiermuth is one of the most important weapons in the Steelers passing attack and is in line to take a massive step forward in 2022.
The Steelers also found a pretty important piece in this unit in Zach Gentry. The gigantic tight end proved himself to be a reliable blocker and can make plays when the ball is in his hands. After the season ending injury to Eric Ebron, Gentry received more opportunity and fits the mould that Matt Spaeth once played in Pittsburgh with the upside of being more athletic than Spaeth ever was.
Should they look to add a player
The Pittsburgh Steelers for once do not need to worry about the tight end spot whatsoever. However, with the hiring of Brian Flores my mind races to the possibility of adding another big time weapon to the team. If the Steelers were to let both JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Washington walk away in free agency and decide not to make serious upgrades in the receiving room they could still upgrade their passing attack by looking at former Dolphins tight and Mike Gesicki.
Now this really isn’t a move the Steelers need to make, but a two-headed tight end monster is one that has dominated the NFL in years past. It would be interesting to see if the Steelers could make it work with two big-time playmakers in the tight end group.
How should the group look in 2022
It is almost 100% certain the Steelers tight end room starts 2022 the same way it ended in 2021 with Freiermuth as the unquestioned number one, Gentry as the second option, and Kevin Rader in the reserve type role. I really do not anticipate the Steelers adding anyone else at the position, but it would be interesting if they did target someone like Gesiki. This is one of the few positions the Steelers need no help, but that doesn’t mean they can’t bolster the group moving forward if they want.
But what do you think? What should the Steelers tight end position look like at the start of the 2022 season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Check out the other position previews below: