The Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in a unique, and difficult, spot heading into the rest of the offseason and the 2022 regular season since Stephon Tuitt announced his retirement Wednesday.
The loss of Tuitt isn’t anything new to the organization, he didn’t play a single snap in 2021, but the fact his decision to step away from the game eliminates him from the depth chart makes the team’s decision moving forward challenging.
There are options for the Steelers, as it pertains to them replacing Tuitt. They could stay put and hope some of the depth they have on their current roster is able to step up and fill the void. Here is a look at their current depth chart:
If the above names don’t invoke much confidence, and you have every right to be skeptical considering what fans witnessed last season without both Tuitt and Alualu in the lineup, you might be wondering who is available on the open market.
Thanks to Sportrac, here is a list of the top defensive tackles who are still on the open market and can be signed by any team:
Name (age) - Former Team
Eddie Goldman (28) - Chicago Bears
Brandon Williams (33) - Baltimore Ravens
Ndamukong Suh (35) - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Linval Joseph (33) - Los Angeles Chargers
Star Lotulelei (32) - Buffalo Bills
Larry Ogunjobi (27) - Cincinnati Bengals
Nick Williams (32) - Detroit Lions
Malik Jackson (32) - Cleveland Browns
Sheldon Richardson (31) - Minnesota Vikings
Shamar Stephen (31) - Denver Broncos
Gerald McCoy (34) - Las Vegas Raiders
Steve McLendon (36) - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Danny Shelton (28) - New York Giants
There are more players available, but these are the defensive linemen who are still available. As you can see, some are aging players, while others are coming off injury riddled seasons where their former employers felt they were expendable.
BTSC’s Dave Schofield is a tremendous job outlining the Steelers salary cap situation after Tuitt’s decision to retire:
As outlined in the above article, Tuitt’s retirement saves the Steelers roughly $8 million dollars, after displacement, and their total salary cap space after Tuitt’s decision totals just over $20 million this year.
The team has the money, if they feel they need to add a proven commodity at the defensive line position. Will they do it? That’s anyone’s guess at this point, and it is the first real challenge of new General Manager (GM) Omar Khan and his team of talent evaluators. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp.