There are a number of Pittsburgh Steelers fans who are still reeling from the news that Terrell Edmunds signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. When details of his contract came out showing that Edmunds is making less money with the Eagles than he did with the Steelers in 2022, the departure seemed even more head-scratching.
On Tuesday, speaking with the media at the NFL league meetings, Steelers general manager Omar Khan told reporters the Steelers made Edmunds a contract offer and he simply chose to go to the Philadelphia Eagles. This per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic:
Asked Omar Khan about Terrell Edmunds. He said that they wanted him back and made an offer but Edmunds decided to move on to the Eagles.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) March 28, 2023
What makes this intriguing is the fact the Steelers likely offered Terrell Edmunds, at minimum, another veteran salary benefit contract like he had in 2022. Specifically as a “Four-Year Player Qualifying Contract” as defined in the NFL‘s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Steelers would have able to pay Edmunds $1.35 million more than what he would be counted on the salary cap if his contract was structured in a certain way. For this reason, the likely Steelers had to at least offer this amount to Edmunds as it offered them the most salary cap savings.
So what would Terrell Edmunds have received from the Steelers if this was the type of contract he was offered? Since the allowed signing bonus from the player benefit did not count on the salary cap did not change from 2022 to 2023, Edmunds would have had a $2.43 million base salary and a $152,500 signing bonus with both amounts being the maximum allowed as a Four-Year Player Qualifying Contract. Therefore, Edmunds base salary would have only counted the minimum for a player with his experience on the salary cap which is $1.08 million for 2023. Along with his signing bonus, Edmunds ultimately would have had a cap hit of $1.2325 million while being paid $2.5825 million.
Whether or not Terrell Edmunds was offered this contract is only speculation. Additionally, teams can offer up to two players a Four-Year Player Qualifying Contract. The catch with this is that they can only claim the $1.35 million that is a salary benefit between the two players, not for each of them. At this time, the one year deal for Zach Gentry has not been reported and could also be a Four-Year Player Qualifying Contract. If it is, The Steelers would not have been able to offer Edmunds the full $1.35 million if some of that amount was offered to Gentry. This would be the only thing that could have kept the Steelers from offering the $2.5845 million described above.
It should also be noted Terrell Edmunds’ $2 million salary is based on him playing in every game in 2023. Also, he is reportedly eligible for up to another $850k in both team and individual incentives. Perhaps this is why Edmunds took the deal in Philadelphia.
But after looking at the potential numbers and the fact the Steelers did offer Edmunds a contract, the most likely scenario is that the Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 first-round draft pick simply thought it was time to move on to a different situation.