As the NFL Playoffs wrap up with Championship Weekend and the Super Bowl, your Pittsburgh Steelers are beginning preparation for next season. With the Senior Bowl right around the corner and the Free Agency tampering period a little over a month away, the team will be making visiting with prospects and adding to their roster before we know it, and excitement will start to build for the 2023 season.
It’s an enticing time of year! Disappointments from the previous campaign are starting to fade, and the potential of a young offense and the strength of a veteran defense give rise to a more prevalent optimism among Steelers Nation. Every fan has their own opinions of how the Steelers should go about their business this offseason, but one thing is certain: some changes will be made to the roster in an effort to get back to postseason play as a real contender. It will be a tall task for Omar Khan, Mike Tomlin, and company, though not impossible. How the team will attempt to reach that goal is anybody’s guess at this time.
In this 3-part series, I will be playing General Manager (GM) for the Steelers and attempt to create the “Betz” offseason for the Steelers organization. Now, I’m not a salary cap guru, but I trust Khan to manipulate the cap to the Steelers’ advantage when it’s time to add to the roster. We’ll start with a look at the Steelers own 2023 Free Agents, and who the team should consider bringing back. Just to clarify, this is not what I think the team will do, it is a realistic approach to what I would do if I were overseeing roster development for 2023.
Let’s dive in!
According to overthecap.com, the Steelers are currently about $3.1 million over the cap limit for 2022. That number is deceiving though, with many changes about to happen and players set to hit the open market. If the Steelers were to cut some high-cost vets such as CB William Jackson III, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, and QB Mitch Trubisky, as well as restructure some larger contracts and push some money into the future for guys like OLB T.J. Watt and DT Cam Heyward, the team could find themselves with nearly $35 million in space to sign free agents, starting with some of their own players who are hitting the market. All that to say, the team has options in 2023 to open up plenty of cap space for building the roster however they want. With that in mind, here are four players the Steelers should consider retaining in 2023.
NOTE: A complete list of Steelers 2023 Free Agents can be found HERE.
SS Terrell Edmunds
Spotrac Market Value: $5.4M/year
Edmunds is the perfect Strong Safety (SS) for this Steelers defense. He rarely misses games, and he has proven to be an above average starter alongside Minkah Fitzpatrick in the secondary. There’s going to be too much turnover at defensive back this offseason for the Steelers to afford losing one of the key communicators on the back end. Plus, the Steelers can likely get him cheap again in 2023, due to the undervalued nature of the SS position. I’d sign Edmunds to a 3-year deal right around his market value to spread out that cap hit and keep a good piece in Pittsburgh.
DT Larry Ogunjobi
Spotrac Market Value: $3.4M/year
Retaining a strong starting option alongside All-World DT Cam Heyward on the Defensive Front is paramount for Pittsburgh, with relative unknowns in DeMarvin Leal and Isaiahh Loudermilk set for increased roles in 2023. Ogunjobi’s 1-year “prove it” deal was good business for the Steelers after the surprising retirement of Stephon Tuitt in 2022. A new 2-year deal at around $4.0M/year would be good business again.
CB Cam Sutton
Spotrac Market Value: $7.6M/year
Bringing back Sutton may be a pipe dream, but if Market Values from Spotrac.com are to be believed, it’s not out of the question the Steelers could retain the underrated cornerback on a reasonable contract that would keep him with the team that drafted him and re-signed him over Mike Hilton a couple years ago. Sutton is the Steelers best CB selection in years, and is really a solid CB2 with outside/inside versatility. Drafting a guy to be your CB1 in April would be the corresponding move to go along with re-signing Sutton, and you can afford to pay him a little more if you’re other starter at Corner is on a team-friendly Rookie contract.
LB Robert Spillane
Spotrac Market Value: N/A
Spillane was as big a part of the resurgence on defense in the 2nd half of the season, specifically in run defense. Spillane is one of those tough-nosed, under-the-radar guys that Mike Tomlin loves and with the team’s ILB room in flux, keeping “Spilly” in house is a good idea. He’ll be dirt cheap, and he can provide quality snaps as the team’s 3rd ILB.
Other players considered: Damontae Kazee, Steven Sims Jr., Zach Gentry
That does it for Part One of The “Betz” Steelers Offseason in 2023. In part two, we’ll explore some outside Free Agents that I think the Steelers should consider signing.
Are there any other players you think the Steelers should consider retaining? Anyone I like that you don’t? Let me know in the comment section below. As always, go Steelers!