The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 NFL season has come to a close. Because the Steelers are among the 31 teams who did not finish fulfilling their ultimate goal, they are in the process of wrapping up their season and moving forward into 2023.
Since the Steelers conduct exit interviews with all their players, we here at BTSC thought we would do the same. By outlining two players each day, we will be able to look at their season in retrospect as well as looking toward the future. Since Coach Tomlin has previously stated he starts his interviews with rookies, first year players, and those heading into free agency, we will do the same. To start, I paired a potential free agent with players on rookie contracts. Now that both of those categories are done, I’ll pair players under contract as we work through this process to eventually cover the entire Steelers roster.
The final two players are wide receivers Diontae Johnson and Anthony Miller.
Position: Wide receiver
Years with the Steelers: 4
Years in the NFL: 4
Contract Status: Signed through 2024
Contract Details: $16,333,333 salary cap hit for 2023. Would cost the Steelers $11,666,667 in dead money if released and save $4,666,666.
Games played in 2022: 17 regular season
Games started in 2022: 17 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 1,042 (offense), 1 (special teams)
PFF score: 69.6 (45th of 119)
Notable stats: Johnson had 86 receptions on 147 targets for 882 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. Johnson also had seven rushes for 25 yards.
Notes: Diontae Johnson did not have the year he expected coming off his contract extension. Johnson had his career low in catch percentage of 58.5% as well as yards per target of 6.0 yards. More concerning, zero touchdowns by Johnson had many around the NFL talking. But 2022 has concluded and both Johnson and Steelers need to look at the 2023 season. With Johnson receiving 50% more targets than the next closest player last season, he must make more with his opportunities or else the opportunities need to decrease. With young players like George Pickens and Pat Freiermuth ready for increased targets, Johnson must continue to improve or see his role in the Steelers offense reduced.
Position: Wide receiver
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 5
Contract Status: Signed through 2023
Contract Details: $940,000 salary cap hit for 2023 on a veteran salary benefit contract. Would cost the Steelers $0 in dead money if released and save $940,000.
Games played in 2022: 0 regular season
Games started in 2022: 0 regular season
Snaps (regular season): None
PFF score: None
Notable stats: None
Notes: It’s only fitting that the final exit interview for the 2022 Pittsburgh Steelers is for the only player to sign a new contract, other than a reserve/future contract, for 2023. Signing on January 17, Anthony Miller will receive over $1 million while counting a little less on the Steelers salary cap of thanks to the veteran salary benefit. But first, Miller must make the roster. Showing a lot of promise before his injury in training camp, Miller is a player that will have the opportunity to shine once more, but will travel to Latrobe with nothing guaranteed.
This concludes the 2022 Steelers exit interviews. If you have missed any of the previous articles, they are listed here:
Kenny Pickett & Mason Rudolph
George Pickens & Miles Boykin
DeMarvin Leal & Larry Ogunjobi
Connor Heyward & Zach Gentry
Mark Robinson & Devin Bush
Jaylen Warren & Benny Snell Jr.
Calvin Austin III & Derek Watt
Najee Harris & Terrell Edmunds
Pat Freiermuth & Trent Scott
Dan Moore Jr. & Jesse Davis
Isaiahh Loudermilk & Chris Wormley
Tre Norwood & Damontae Kazee
Pressley Harvin III & Marcus Allen
Kendrick Green & J.C. Hassenauer
Alex Highsmith & Malik Reed
Kevin Dotson & Tyson Alualu
Ahkello Witherspoon & Cam Sutton
Myles Jack & Robert Spillane
Minkah Fitzpatrick & Karl Joseph
Levi Wallace & James Pierre
Miles Killebrew & Elijah Riley
T.J. Watt & Jamir Jones
Montravius Adams & Tae Crowder
Cam Heyward & Jonathan Marshall
Chris Boswell & Christian Kuntz
Arthur Maulet & William Jackson III
Steven Sims & Gunner Olszewski
Jeremy McNichols & Carlins Platel
Mason Cole & James Daniels
Mitch Trubisky & Chuks Okorafor