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.
Next up are outside linebackers T.J. Watt and Jamir Jones.
Position: Outside linebacker
Years with the Steelers: 6
Years in the NFL: 6
Contract Status: Signed through 2025
Contract Details: $29,368,694 salary cap hit for 2023. Would cost the Steelers $48,106,082 in dead money if released.
Games played in 2022: 10 regular season
Games started in 2022: 10 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 502 (defense), 32 (special teams)
PFF score: 82.1 (19th of 120)
Notable stats: Watt had 39 tackles, 8 of which were for loss, 12 quarterback hits, 5.5 sacks, one forced fumble, 5 passes defensed, and 2 interceptions.
Notes: T.J. Watt saw career lows in most of his statistics for 2022, but that’s because he saw the fewest number of games in his career. Missing seven games due to his pectoral and knee injury, the impact to the Steelers result on the field was obvious. After going 1–6 while Watt was out, the Steelers finished 7–2 after his return. Other than speaking about his season from the standpoint of missing time due to injury, there’s really not anything else to say about Watt as he is the Steelers player which the rest of the defense is built around.
Position: Outside linebacker
Years with the Steelers: 2
Years in the NFL: 2
Contract Status: Exclusive Rights Free Agent
Contract Details: Steelers can offer a tender for $1,010,000 based on years experience.
Games played in 2022: 17 regular season
Games started in 2022: 0 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 86 (defense), 251 (special teams)
PFF score: 57.7 (DNQ for ranking)
Notable stats: Jones had 10 tackles and one pass defensed.
Notes: It’s difficult to say if this was Jones’ first or second official year in Pittsburgh. Starting off 2021 and playing three games with the Steelers, Jones played more games with the Rams (10) and also played two more in Jacksonville. Coming back to Pittsburgh for 2022, it’s a second NFL season but it was not an unfamiliar team. Not utilized much on defense, Jones did get a helmet in the “run heavy” games against Baltimore and Cleveland at the end of the season in favor of Malik Reed. With a minimum contract being what’s in store for Jones with his exclusive right tender, there is really no downside to having him in training camp this summer for another opportunity to make the 53-man roster.
Make sure you check back each day for another set of 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