The Omar Khan era has officially started in Pittsburgh and to say it has been interesting, at least to me, is an understatement. Starting with the non-signing of Cameron Sutton and the signing of a future Hall of Famer Patrick Peterson, I for one did not see that coming. Outside of his age there is a question about fit. Reports are he had a return to glory, so to speak, as a zone defender in Minnesota. That would be fine except the Steelers transitioned to more man concepts in 2022. How this will work out is anyone’s guess.
In another somewhat shocking move, the Steelers gutted the inside linebacker room. Don’t get me wrong, there have been many a fan in Steelers Nation, and here at BTSC, that have been banging the table for help in that room. Many expected Robert Spillane to be re-signed as it felt like a no brainer due to Coach Tomlin’s praise of the former Steeler. Instead, two veteran linebackers were brought in and Myles Jack was sent packing.
A couple of other Steeler-like moves were made in bringing back Damontae Kazee, Larry Ogunjobi, and the signing of Nate Herbig— all very solid signings.
That brings us to the elephant in the room, and that is the restructure move that gave the Steelers a decent amount of salary cap space. Looking at overthecap.com the Steelers are now listed as having $18 million in cap space (without the Larry Ogunjobi contract which will be the biggest one of all the players added). Now, with all the “frenzy” happening around the league these figures may not be completely accurate. I do not fault OTC or anyone else because that is a huge task considering the movement, but there is still a huge amount of space at this point in the process.
As stated earlier, Ogunjobi’s contract isn’t listed, which removes a lot of the cap space most sites are suggesting the Steelers possess. But it isn’t as if the team can’t create more salary cap space by cutting players like Ahkello Witherspoon and/or Gunner Olszewski.
The question remains, what will the Steelers do with the remaining space? In no particular order, this is my take on where the Steelers should look to add to the 2023 roster.
Disclaimer: At the time of writing this and possible posting, these Free Agents were still available.
Alex Highsmith, EDGE - First things first, an extension for T.J. Watt’s running mate. The guy balled out in 2022 and deserves a raise. Get it done Omar!
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S/SLOT CB (PHI) - There could be a void at the nickel and dime as well as a hit in versatility at the back end of the defense. Johnson is an intense defender that has position versatility.
Leonard Floyd, EDGE (LAR) - I know there is the real possibility that Bud Dupree will be back in the Black & Gold, but what if you wanted an injury-free defender that has better production applying pressure and defends the run at a solid clip? The Steelers have a need at EDGE 3 and Floyd could just be what the Steelers need.
Dalton Schultz TE (DAL) - This one will probably be met with a bunch of “we don’t need a TE” or “we have Muuuuuth and we need a LT”. Or my favorite, “that is a luxury signing or pick”. Okay, I will admit that it is highly unlikely but I believe in giving my second year, possibly a franchise guy, as many weapons as possible. Schultz is a serious weapon and could create nightmare match ups while creating space for others.
Adam Thielen WR (MIN) - I would love to add the former Viking to the mix. Thielen still has game but seen a decrease in touches due to the incredible Justin Jefferson and also the cap. He provides veteran leadership and in play, a possession type receiver with red zone possibility.
This is my short list of how I would spend any cap space created by Omar Khan so far. I would not discount a possible trade in the near future, but how would you spend the Steelers’ money? As always stay safe and Go Steelers!