The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season is now in the books, and it ended in spectacular fashion—though the wrong kind of spectacular—in a dismal postseason defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, sending them into an early offseason mode after going 12-4 in the regular season and winning the AFC North for the first time in three years.
After setting a franchise record by opening the year on an 11-game winning streak, they followed that up by losing three games in a row, going 1-4 in the final five games, with only a 17-point comeback staving off a five-game slide. But all the issues they had in the regular season showed up in the postseason that resulted in their early exit.
The only thing facing them now as they head into 2021 is more questions, and right now, they lack answers. What will Ben Roethlisberger do, and what will they do with him? What will the salary cap look like? How many free agents are they going to lose? Who could they possibly afford to retain? Who might they part ways with—not just on the roster, but also on the coaching staff?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will the Steelers exercise their fifth-year option on fourth-year safety Terrell Edmunds?
The 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought about some changes when it comes to fifth-year options for first round draft picks. For one thing, it makes the fifth-year salary fully guaranteed as soon as it’s exercised. It also changes the pay structure based on playing time and achievement, rather than draft positioning, in addition to position, of course.
The Steelers had two first-rounders from 2018, with Minkah Fitzpatrick having been a trade acquisition. They already picked up his option, but they have not yet made a public decision on the fate of Terrell Edmunds, their other starting safety, whom they drafted.
Today, the first Monday after the draft, is the deadline for teams to exercise the fifth-year options for the 2018 class. Edmunds is one of eight remaining, about which there has been no public decision made or for whom it is applicable.
His price tag would come in at under $7 million for the 2022 season, so it’s not a major commitment, but it’s also a healthy raise. Presumably, they would want to work out a long-term extension with him, if they do pick up his option, before he plays under that cap number.
Through his first three seasons, Edmunds has only missed one game, starting all but one of the 47 in which he has played. He has recorded 251 tackles with three interceptions, 15 passes defensed, a fumble recovery, and two sacks.