The Pittsburgh Steelers had almost all of their starting positions set heading into the 2022 NFL Draft. All but one. The final position which everyone could agree was left vacated was at strong safety. With Terrell Edmunds still a free agent, the team seemed destined to head into the draft with a glaring need on their roster.
Then Friday evening happened.
It seemed as if Edmunds, and other safeties like Tyrann Mathieu, were going to wait till after the draft to make a decision on which team they would join for the 2022 season. For whatever reason, and it wasn’t based on a lack of suitors, Edmunds decided to sign with the Steelers for one year.
The #Steelers are bringing back S Terrell Edmunds on a 1-year deal, source said.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 22, 2022
But that wasn’t all. When you look at the cost of bringing Edmunds back, roughly $2.5 million dollars for 2022, it became a steal of a deal.
Pittsburgh is giving S Terrell Edmunds a 1-year deal worth $2.5M, source said. He had two other offers, but the former first-rounder elects to stay home. https://t.co/fewx3UrbBy— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 22, 2022
Considering Edmunds’ 5th year option would have been over $6 million dollars, the Steelers are bringing back one of their two starting safeties for a fraction of what it would cost if they had elected to pick up the option.
The fact Edmunds decided to stay in Pittsburgh at that rate is shocking enough, what is amazing is how it opens up a myriad of doors for the team in the draft process.
Whether you like Edmunds or not, and plenty don’t like the safety, the fact a player with his level of experience, and relationship with Minkah Fitzpatrick, was able to be retained at such a cheap price is staggering. Is Edmunds the playmaker of Mathieu? Not even close, but is he a serviceable player who will guarantee they have someone if the draft doesn’t fall their way this upcoming weekend? Absolutely.
After picking up Miles Boykin off waivers and re-signing Edmunds, the Steelers now have no glaring needs on their roster. Does the Boykin signing mean they won’t select a receiver in the draft? They absolutely will likely pick a receiver, but Boykin provides size, depth and a willingness to play special teams most rookies don’t have.
Likewise, does retaining Edmunds mean safety is no longer a team need heading into the draft? Far from it. If there is a safety they like, bringing Edmunds back for 2022 doesn’t mean they won’t draft that particular prospect. If anything, having Edmunds in the fold will help avoid the same problem the team had the year they drafted Edmunds in 2018. If you recall, the team had signed Morgan Burnett in free agency, and hoped to give Edmunds a year to mature and learn the system before being thrust into the starting lineup. Due to injuries to Burnett, Edmunds became the starter and never relinquished the role.
If the Steelers decide to draft a safety, consider Edmunds a bridge player before he hits free agency again after 2022 and the young player takes over in 2023.
Like Edmunds or not, this is a move which should make all Steelers fans happy. It gives the team a flexibility entering the draft they didn’t have on Friday morning. They now venture back into the category of being able to take a Best Player Available (BPA) approach to the draft process. As many have mentioned throughout this offseason, this is the ultimate destination to reach before the draft.
For Kevin Colbert’s last draft as the Steelers’ General Manager, consider it mission accomplished in the run up to the three day selection process. Now, all that is left is hitting a few home runs with the team’s seven draft picks in this year’s draft.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of free agency and the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft.