The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted from the postseason in the opening round, which unfortunately marks the fifth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—a new record for the franchise since the merger. Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-7-1 and making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from the majority of the offensive line to Mike Hilton, Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Vince Williams—not to mention Stephon Tuitt, essentially.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2021 season.
Player: Trai Turner
Experience: 8 Years
Trai Turner was a five-time Pro Bowler when the Steelers signed him in late June, which came the same day that the team released six-time Pro Bowl guard David DeCastro. They had just determined through an MRI that DeCastro had an ankle injury that likely would have required surgery and would have prevented him from playing—he was purportedly already considering retiring.
Turner was the only player on the Steelers’ offensive line who had previously ever started a game as the intended starter. Chukwuma Okorafor had 18 starts, but all as an injury replacement. Kevin Dotson had four starts under the same conditions. Kendrick Green and Dan Moore Jr. were rookies.
Turner was also purportedly ‘past his prime’. Even though he played this past season at the ripe old age of just 28, he was coming off of a couple of down seasons, including his one-year stint with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020, during which he was only healthy enough to play in nine games.
Turner didn’t miss a game for the Steelers this past year, however, starting all 18 including the postseason and logging 1,152 snaps. He did exit a couple of games earlier due to injury, but never had to miss a start.
His actual on-field performance was at least adequate. They paid $3 million for him on a one-year contract, and I think they got that value out of him at least. Will the Steelers be interested in bringing him back for 2022 and beyond, however? Do they see him as a core piece of this offensive line during its rebuild?
Turner was playing on a four-year, $45 million contract prior to coming to the Steelers. I’m guessing he’ll be looking for more than $3 million after showing that he can play healthy for a full season, something he had only done twice before in his entire career up to that point.