The grass always looks greener on the other side, but sometimes that's because it's artificial turf. Not the real deal, and nowhere near as much fun to enjoy a picnic with your family on.
Yet another must-win scenario for the Steelers to keep their longshot playoffs hopes alive. Three straight weeks of playoff like circumstances has to have strengthened the Steelers resolve, and bodes well for the future of the extremely young and talented roster.
Lost amongst all the playoff scenarios and hoopla is the reality that Sunday could be the final game wearing a Steelers uniform for many of the pending free agents on the roster. The Steelers have some interesting decisions to make this offseason on some valuable contributors, including some starters.
One such decision on a current starter about to turn unrestricted free agent is Terrell Edmunds, and I believe he should be a level one priority target.
A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. The Steelers know exactly what they have in Terrell Edmunds. Edmunds is consistent, reliable, and durable. What he isn't is splashy or flashy. Edmunds brings zero drama to the equation, on or off the field. However, his team-first mentality has resulted in him doing an inadequate job of promoting his own brand. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, but Edmunds seemingly resists that temptation. His reserved and respectful behavior is the opposite of self-promotion, which I find refreshing.
Edmunds has shown consistent improvement at every stage of his career, and he has enjoyed arguably his most consistent season this year, in my opinion. The remarkably durable Edmunds has missed two games this season due to injury, and was gravelly missed on both occasions. Although that reality could be hard to comprehend for the casual observer, especially in this stat obsessed and highlight reel society.
Edmunds’ statistics in 2023 have been rather pedestrian, but his impact on the Steelers defense has been substantial. He has been credited with 65 total tackles in his 14 starts, with 35 of those being of the solo variety. He has a single sack and 4 pass breakups on his tally. Not much to write home about, at first glance.
There are Edmunds critics, and the loudest love to point out his lack of splash play tendencies, and that trend has continued this season. He hasn't registered a single takeaway, whether by interception or forced fumble, this season. The inability to create turnovers is more about his skill set and usage than any physical shortcoming.
Edmunds is a strong safety with inside linebacker tendencies. He is a classic box safety, who excels at covering tight ends and running backs, long a Steelers weakness prior to his selection in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He utilizes his elite level athleticism and outstanding speed at the position to limit long run and yards after the catch, another issue for the Steelers before his arrival. Truthfully, he may not create many splash plays, but he definitely helps prevent them.
As I mentioned earlier, Edmunds is a selfless, team first player. Willing and able to fill a variety of roles due to his versatility. That has been a trend for Edmunds all the way back to his collegiate days at Virginia Tech. I mentioned his versatility and selflessness in an article towards the end of his rookie season, and the article was mentioned by Bleacher Report because they needed an article with a positive spin about his selection and rookie performance. I feel the same way now as I did then — the Steelers need Terrell Edmunds.
His teammates love him, the coaches love him, and the community loves him. Edmunds has formed a special connection with All-Pro safety partner Minkah Fitzpatrick. There is a underrated trust factor needed in any exceptional safety tandem, one that normally takes substantial time and effort to cultivate. Fitzpatrick is comfortable with Edmunds and the scheme, and has enjoyed his best season to date as a result.
Fitzpatrick is currently tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions on the season, many of the game-closing variety, with a game left to be played. Minkah appears destined for his third All-Pro selection. I think it would smart of the Steelers to try and keep that connection rolling.
The simple truth is Terrell Edmunds needs the Steelers, and the Steelers need Terrell Edmunds. Edmunds has more value for the Steelers than he would for many other defensive schemes, and he is a perfect fit for the Steelers culture and community.
Some relationships are just meant to be. Edmunds was meant to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. Keep the negotiations simple. Both parties find common ground, and sign on the dotted line.
This offseason the Steelers need to make Terrell Edmunds feel like a priority. Then get back to rebuilding the Steelers’ next championship roster.