The Pittsburgh Steelers have a number of players, some more significant than others, who are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in a matter of weeks. The team has recently gotten its free agency process and plans underway, and we saw the first bit of action on that front yesterday with their re-signing of defensive end Tyson Alualu.
Alualu was one of three defensive linemen scheduled to hit free agency, the others being Daniel McCullers and L.T. Walton. While all three of them are reserves, Alualu was the most significant piece, the first one off the bench.
Alualu was originally a first-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, though he slowly transitioned into a rotational player over the course of his career. After eight seasons there, he signed with the Steelers, and found that he liked the environment in the city and in the locker room.
“I don’t know if I can say enough about the guys that we have. The relationships that you build on and off the field”, he said. “You get to know people on a personal level, see how they live every day, how they interact with each other, with myself. It is a testament to the organization and the family atmosphere they build there. I am just happy and excited to continue to be a part of that”.
This is a sentiment that many players who have come here from other organizations have expressed, most prominently among those on the current roster being Alejandro Villanueva and Darrius Heyward-Bey. It doesn’t seem as though Morgan Burnett had the greatest time, but well, his health was largely to blame for that.
“We have so many great players. I am looking forward to us putting things together”, he said. “It’s still so early. Free agency hasn’t even hit yet. Just excited to see the pieces added, the pieces we still have. I can’t wait to get back and play ball and see what we can do this coming season”.
Of course, the defensive line is fronted by Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and Javon Hargrave. Heyward is a two-time Pro Bowler who has 20 sacks over the course of the past two seasons. All three recorded at least five and a half sacks.
Alualu did not have as many opportunities to play extensively in 2018 as he did the year before, which was largely due to the health of the starters in front of him, but he continued to play at a level that demonstrated this continued ability to contribute.
I thought that the team might consider trying to sign him to a one-year, qualifying contract, but he is certainly worthy of a two-year deal, especially since it gets him locked up early, with one less thing to worry about.