The Pittsburgh Steelers have been deep in offseason preparation for the past several weeks after the 2022 team came up just shy of the postseason with a 9-8 record. We all know the story of how the team started slow and turned it on at the end, but after watching the Kansas City Chiefs narrowly beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship game, it begs the question of when the Steelers will be back in the AFC’s big game?
Before getting to the question, it’s important to dissect the team and figure out how far they might be from not just making the postseason, but making a run at the Super Bowl.
Offensively, the Steelers could run back the same 2022 offense, if they wanted. The only free agent of note for the offense is Zach Gentry, and his value is based solely on those who are breaking down his game. The offense, mainly the offensive line, started to kick it in gear down the stretch and finished the season on a high note. Protecting the football and running the ball were paramount, but scoring points on a consistent basis remained a problem.
Defensively, the Steelers have some difficult decisions to make. The following key contributors on defense are entering free agency this offseason:
- Terrell Edmunds
- Larry Ogunjobi
- Damontae Kazee
- Cam Sutton
- Robert Spillane
- Devin Bush
- Chris Wormley
Not all of those players will be back, and more may leave than stay, but the Steelers defense will have holes to fill this offseason both by free agency and the NFL Draft.
When it comes to the other tangible aspects of the team heading into the offseason it is important to note the amount of salary cap space the team currently has. If you’ve been paying attention to the updates here at BTSC, provided by Dave Schofield, you’ve seen the overall number dwindle as the team has started to sign players to future/reserve contracts and fill out their 90-man offseason roster. Nonetheless, with a few decisions by Omar Khan the team could free up significant amount of cap space to operate this offseason.
On top of that, the team also possess three draft picks in the Top 50 in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. Sure, they have to hit on those picks, but the prospects are intriguing, to say the least.
When you add all that up, you have to wonder how long it may take until the organization has built a roster capable of making a serious run. And by serious run I’m talking about being in the AFC Championship game, on win away from the Super Bowl.
Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the NFL offseason.
When will the Steelers be in another AFC Championship game?
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This was also the topic of my “Let’s Ride” podcast last Friday where I dove head-first into this topic and then some. Check it out in the player below if you missed it: