The Pittsburgh Steelers were big time players in free agency this offseason, but more so in the early stages of the NFL’s legal tampering period. For faithful fans of the black and gold, this was a phenomenon they haven’t experienced much in the Mike Tomlin era.
Equipped with roughly $29 million dollars in salary cap space, the team executed a precise plan of attack by signing the following players:
QB Mitch Trubisky
IOL James Daniels
IOL Mason Cole
CB Levi Wallace
CB Ahkello Witherspoon
ILB Myles Jack
DT/NT Montravius Adams
S Miles Killebrew
CB Arthur Maulet
OT Chuks Okorafor
KR/PR Gunner Olszewski
The Steelers haven’t exhausted their salary cap space, and the possibility of adding to the above list is very real. However, when looking at the players who have already signed on the dotted line, there are some signings which provide more value than others. In fact, the NFL insiders at ESPN talked about the best, and most head-scratching, moves of NFL free agency and the Steelers had two picks which were deemed to have some tremendous value.
Take a look at who made the list, and what was said about the acquisition:
Jordan Reid, NFL draft analyst: G James Daniels to the Steelers. Considering his age at the start of the season (25) and experience at both center and guard, it was surprising that the fourth year veteran didn’t demand more on the open market. Signing a three year, $26.5-million deal is great value for the Steelers at a need position. The former second-round pick likely will step in as the starter at right guard, but he is capable of playing any three positions along the interior. That type of versatility should have been coveted by more teams that were searching for interior offensive line help.
Daniels signing with the team for three years, and at the price at which he signed, is certainly something the team can hang their hat on. But he wasn’t the only player who was deemed to be a high value pick up.
Mike Tannenbaum, NFL front office insider: QB Mitch Trubisky to the Steelers. Trubisky needs to clean up his red zone interceptions after having eight in Chicago, but even if he plays slightly above average, his deal will be a massive bargain ($7.1 million per year) compared to all of the other recent quarterback deals. For instance, how much worse is he really than Kirk Cousins? Cousins just signed an extension that averages $35 million per year.
Trubisky wasn’t the sexy addition to the roster, but with a team-friendly contract, and being considered to have high upside from a talent perspective, you can see where someone like Tannenbaum views the bargain aspect of the free agent signing.
But with every positive in this world, especially in the NFL, there is a negative. While Tannebaum lauded the Trubisky signing, Matt Bowen thought it was the most head-scratching move of free agency. Why? Based on the fact he doesn’t believe Trubisky’s skill set has improved any since he was the full-time starter with the Chicago Bears.
Matt Bowen, NFL analyst: QB Mitch Trubisky to the Steelers. In Matt Canada’s offense, the Steelers can set up Trubisky with defined throws off movement and play-action. I still have concerns about Trubisky’s ability as a pocket thrower in critical game situations, though — that’s the mechanics and the eyes. Let’s see if Pittsburgh drafts a rookie quarterback to compete with him next month.
Every fan and expert is going to have their opinions on the moves which were made, but the fact remains the Steelers have done a lot to help transform their roster. Debates will rage on whether the moves made were enough, but you can’t say the Steelers didn’t go out and do their best to put not just a better, but new, product on the field in 2022.
Only time will tell if the moves will pay dividends, but as of now there are more who believe the moves were positive, than negative.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the rest of free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft.