The Pittsburgh Steelers conservative reputation has been hard-earned, and well-deserved. That reputation has definitely preceded them into this offseason, with multiple pundits predicting another rather boring offseason for the franchise.
That scenario has been the norm for the Steelers over the past couple of decades, particularly during former General Manager (GM) Kevin Colbert's tenure. But times, they are a changing.
Colbert stepped down as GM immediately after the 2022 NFL Draft, and was replaced by long-time Steelers executive Omar Khan. Then the Steelers signed former Philadelphia Eagles executive Andy Weidl, who was a key contributor in building the Eagles Super Bowl runner-up roster, to be their assistant general manager.
All the front office changes, along with numerous more in the scouting department, suggest an offseason of uncertainty, meaning your guess is as good as mine. Nobody knows what to expect this offseason, outside of the Steelers themselves. This will be Khan's first opportunity to call the shots, and it stands to reason he will be eager to put his stamp on the rebuilding roster, preferably with an offseason to remember.
There are multiple ways to do just that this offseason, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, where I feel the Steelers biggest areas of need reside. We are going to focus in this article on the 3 most recent rumored possibilities I have heard about throughout the offseason, with two of the free agency variety, and a blockbuster trade. Regardless of how illogical or unrealistic they may seem. Besides, since when have we allowed reality to interfere with our offseason speculation.
Signing Pro Bowl DT Daron Payne in free agency
When I first read about this rumor I immediately thought about my friend and podcast partner Geoffrey Benedict, as this scenario sounds like a byproduct of one of Geoffrey's fevered dreams. Payne is a talented 25 year old Pro Bowl defensive tackle, and is projected to garner about $19 million a year on his next contract. That sounds about right for a youngster coming off an 11.5 sack breakout season who happens to be hitting free agency for the first time. Khan and the Steelers would have to get creative to find enough cap space to pull this dream scenario off, but Payne would solidify the interior of the Steelers defensive front for years, and bring a much needed shot of youthful enthusiasm in the process.
Signing Pro Bowl ILB Tremaine Edmunds in free agency
This is a more realistic possibility for the Steelers, although Terrell's not-so-little brother would require a hefty price tag of his own. I wrote about my personal opinion on this scenario in an article last week, and my feelings haven't changed in the slightest. Regardless of the Steelers favorite target at the position, I believe inside linebacker is the Steelers biggest need this offseason. Based on the impressive list of selections available in free agency, plus a rather thin group of draft prospects, I want the Steelers biggest free agent addition to be at inside linebacker. Tremaine Edmunds is likely to be No. 1 on every inside linebacker needy teams wish list, based on age and athleticism alone. He would instantly be the best inside linebacker for the Steelers since Ryan Shazier.
Trading for Pro Bowl CB Jalen Ramsey
This rumor seems to be taking on a life of it's very own. I have read about it at multiple locations, and saw it discussed on national sports media. I dismissed it at first, due to the fact Ramsey is currently under contract with the Los Angeles Rams, while making about $20 million a year. However, the Rams currently find themselves in salary cap purgatory, and coming off a disappointing season. Ramsey is so expensive that he may become expendable for the cash strapped Rams franchise. Like with the other two aforementioned options, Khan would have to get creative to even consider trading for Ramsey, even if he thought the Steelers could afford him. One rumor suggested the Rams might covet the Steelers’ 32nd pick in the upcoming draft, especially with a particularly deep class of corners available. At 28 years of age, Ramsey is still in his prime, and should have two to three years of elite level play left in the tank. Ramsey would be the Steelers best cornerback since Rod Woodson.
Now it's time for our knowledgeable BTSC community to put on your armchair Steelers GM hat, and make your opinions known. Please vote in the attached poll for which scenario you feel would be the most beneficial for the Steelers as presently constructed. Then share your reasoning in the corresponding discussion thread.
As always, thanks in advance for your participation. It's going to be a long offseason, folks. Thankfully we have our community communication to get us through.
Which of the 3 dream scenarios suggested would you prefer if cap space wasn't a problem?
This poll is closed
A = Sign free agent Daron Payne
B = Sign free agent Tremaine Edmunds
C = Trade for Jalen Ramsey