“Terrell Edmunds being gone hurts.
I’ve always loved guys who start out with clear flaws and put in the work to erase them.
I’ve always loved guys who do the work that lets other players shine.
I’ve always loved players that have great versatility.
I’m a Terrell Edmunds fan.”
That quote isn’t from Vince Lombardi. If it was, it would be the most amazing quote ever. (It would be the most amazing THING ever, this side of the bible.) No, it’s a Tweet from Geoffrey Benedict, a BTSC writer, podcaster, football analyst and Steelers fan.
Geoffrey took to social media last Thursday to express his disappointment when word first surfaced—by Edmunds, himself—that the veteran safety from Virginia Tech would likely be departing Pittsburgh.
Geoffrey, like a lot of Steelers fans—including yours truly—just doesn’t get the deal with Edmunds. Speaking of deals, why was the one Edmunds ultimately signed with the Eagles, which came sometime after he cryptically took to Twitter to let everyone know he probably wasn’t coming back, so short and so low?
Edmunds will play the 2023 season in Philadelphia and earn $2 million.
If that amount sounds familiar, it’s because it’s roughly half a million less than what Edmunds agreed to play the 2022 season for in Pittsburgh; after the Steelers decided not to pick up his fifth-year option, Edmunds got no love on the free-agent market and had to settle for a one-year "prove it" deal with the team that originally drafted him.
That fact that Edmunds was eligible for a fifth-year option has always been the career cross he’s had to bear since the night Pittsburgh made him the 28th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.
I remember where I was when Edmunds got drafted. I was doing a podcast with Bryan Anthony Davis, like Geoffrey, a BTSC star, and I was the first one to break the news to him (maybe even the world) that Edmunds was going to be the Steelers' first-round pick.
I have a source inside the Steelers locker room who just happens to be my brother. Actually, he’s not the one in the locker room, it’s someone else. So I guess you can say it’s a source twice removed (at least it was a twice-removed source—I believe there was a falling out). Anywho, my brother’s intel was always spot on (for example, he also brought you the Martavis Bryant trade that same night and the Najee Harris pick three years later); despite my brother's reliable insider history, when he texted me the name, Terrell Edmunds, I said, “Huh?”
Bryan was actually asking me a question at that very moment, but I was too distracted reading the breaking news text and didn’t have the phone up to my ear (we did our podcast on the phone, as was the custom in those days).
Neither of us knew who Edmunds was, but we both left the show eager to give him a chance.
And we did.
Not many others gave Edmunds a chance, however, and he was always seen as the weak link of the defense during his five seasons in Pittsburgh.
It didn't matter that Edmunds was extremely durable (he missed a total of four games in five years), or that he improved with each passing season.
It also didn’t matter, as Geoffrey alluded to in his Tweet, that Edmunds was tasked with many responsibilities during his time in Pittsburgh—including covering tight ends, playing in the box and being the Robin to Minkah Fitzpatrick’s Batman.
I think many Steelers fans—some of whom started out as his harshest critics—began to warm up to Edmunds over time and recognized what he was and, more importantly, what he was not.
But that didn’t stop many of those fans from wanting more than what Edmunds was giving the defense.
I guess you could say the same thing about NFL executives, including former Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, who gave Edmunds a lukewarm endorsement last spring before giving him a stone-cold contract.
It just boggles the mind that Edmunds has hit the open market two years in a row and hasn’t been able to cash in on a multi-year contract.
No, Edmunds isn’t a splash player, and yes, he was a former first-round pick, but you’d think "solid" would be worth something during the free-agent frenzy, a time when teams give out money like it’s not even real.
Some have said that Edmunds, who was clearly a reach by the Steelers, shouldn't be given credit for being drafted a round or two higher than he should have been.
A first-round pick comes with no guarantees, especially if he’s selected closer to the second--and especially if he wasn't even supposed to be drafted that high--and having a solid career sure beats the heck out of being an out-and-out bust, which is often the reality for many top-five picks.
Do I think Edmunds deserves top-safety money? No. Do I think Edmunds is the victim of the safety position being devalued by NFL coaches and general managers? Yes.
But do I think he should be paid less than some career special teams players? Absolutely not.
Oh well, if someone like Geoffrey Benedict, who knows the Xs and Os of football a lot better than I do, can’t figure out the deal with Terrell Edmunds, I feel justified in my confusion, as well.
Terrell Edmunds is a damn-fine NFL safety. You’d think that would be worth something during unrestricted free agency.
Even in 2023.