Now that the 2021 offseason has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: DL Tyson Alualu
Stock Value: Sold
Reasoning: Despite what was hoped, perhaps even expected, Alualu departed from the Steelers in free agency, returning to the Jacksonville Jaguars on a two-year, $6 million contract that will probably see him through to the end of his career.
After four years and about $12 million banked, Tyson Alualu’s time in Pittsburgh is over, and naturally it comes on the heels of his best season—perhaps the best of his entire 11-year professional career. A former first-round pick of the Jaguars, he is going back there now, where he spent the first seven years of his career.
Alualu was moved inside to play nose tackle for the Steelers this past season after they lost Javon Hargrave in free agency. While it was a position that was largely new to him, it was one the team felt confident that he would be able to handle based on his skill set, and that belief proved to be well-founded.
For most of the season, he provided a really good foundation for the team’s run defense, but that fell apart when he injured his knee in the second half of the season early in a game against the Baltimore Ravens. Now they have to find a replacement for him.
In terms of in-house options, there are Isaiah Buggs and Carlos Davis, both of whom played a handful of snaps there. Even Henry Mondeaux played there a bit, but he really profiles better as an end. Chris Wormley, who was re-signed yesterday, could in theory be asked to move inside as well.
But Alualu will be missed, both on the field and in the locker room. He clearly had the complete respect and admiration of his teammates for who he is as a person. Now, with his career drawing to a close, he’s writing his last chapter by going home, and being there for the first steps of the Trevor Lawrence era.