After a weekend with my ear to the ground in Indianapolis, I picked up on quite a few Steelers rumors that had been swirling amongst NFL insiders and team beat writers. However, not all rumors actually come to fruition. Which ones should you believe as it pertains to the Steelers’ free agency plans? You are about to find out!
In case you missed it, be sure to check out Monday’s edition of Let’s Ride, when I joined Jeff Hartman for the Monday morning conversation and discussed the rumors I heard while in Indy. You can listen below.
For the record, all the free-agency topics discussed below are based upon what I have heard from reliable sources. This does not mean everything said below is set in stone within the Steelers front office, but based upon the information I have received, I would say these moves are more likely to happen than not.
Let’s dive in!
1. Steelers sign Bud Dupree
First and foremost, this is no indication that Pittsburgh is going to let Alex Highsmith walk following the 2022 season. In fact, I expect a long-term extension to be reached before we get to training camp. However, the Steelers have been in need of a dependable third option at outside linebacker that can spell T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith to keep them fresh. Bud Dupree’s release from the Titans is imminent, and it will not be a shock to anyone when it happens. What I found interesting in Indianapolis, however, is that many people within the league seem confident Dupree will end up with Pittsburgh. He knows the system, he has had success in it, and it will give him a chance to revive his career after two seasons filled with injuries.
2. Steelers re-sign Cameron Sutton
I have reservations about this one personally, but most people within the league do not expect Cameron Sutton to be available for very long. Apparently, the Steelers are quite high on the former third-round pick, and they view him as a CB1. Unfortunately, when putting into consideration the league-wide need for cornerbacks, Sutton’s price tag could be as high as $12-14 million per year. Would he be willing to accept a little less to remain in Pittsburgh? Only time will tell, but it is clear the Steelers like him and want to keep him around, regardless of whether or not they can snag a corner in the draft.
3. Steelers sign a mid-level linebacker
This draft is historically weak at inside linebacker, but with Devin Bush likely out of the picture, the Steelers need to find a sidekick for 2022 free-agent acquisition Myles Jack. Every fan, including myself, would go crazy if the Steelers were able to sign Tremaine Edmunds, but even with the roster moves the Steelers could make to clear up that much cap space, it seems uncharacteristic of the organization to throw top-of-the-market money at an outside free agent. I think a more likely scenario is for Pittsburgh to target a mid-level starter, much like they did last year with Myles Jack. Keep an eye on T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White, two linebackers who have ties to Andy Weidl from his time in Philadelphia.
4. Steelers bring back Edmunds and Kazee
Of the two, it seems as if Damontae Kazee is more likely to be brought back, as he will not have the market Terrell Edmunds may have. However, considering the lack of options at strong safety in the draft, I think the Steelers will realize Edmunds’ importance to the secondary and bring him back, potentially on a multi-year deal that is friendly to the salary cap in 2023. Teryl Austin likes using three-safety looks, and he loves safeties with the versatility to cover in the slot. Considering Kazee’s abilities, he seems to be a lock to return to Pittsburgh. While not as many rumors are swirling about Edmunds, it seems more likely than not that he returns as well.
5. Steelers sign a depth piece along the offensive line
The rumor I heard more than any at the combine was the rumor that Pittsburgh plans to keep the same starting five on the offensive line for 2023. This comes as a disappointment to many Steelers fans, including myself. Nonetheless, depth is still an issue, and I cannot see the team using more than one of their first four picks on an offensive lineman. Whether it be a tackle or someone along the interior, I expect the Steelers to bring in at least one free agent lineman, in case they strike out on linemen in the draft. Do not expect any high-profile names, though.
Which storylines do you expect to see in free agency? Be sure to share them along with your thoughts on the rumors above in the comment section below!