2022 Free Agents Analysis: S Terrell Edmunds – Unrestricted

Player: Terrell Edmunds

Position: Safety
Experience: 4 Years
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2021 Salary Cap Hit: $3,403,842

2021 Season Breakdown:

If his level of play represented a good average for what was to come for Terrell Edmunds, I think the Pittsburgh Steelers could live with that—provided that they had an above-average free safety to pair him with, like they have in Minkah Fitzpatrick for the majority of their careers together.

That’s a question that’s coming up now because Edmunds, their 2018 first-round draft pick, is going to be an unrestricted free agent in roughly a month’s time after the Steelers chose not to exercise his fifth-year option.

So what exactly did he look like in 2021? Well, much the way he looked in 2022, only a bit better. Which is the same story for how he looked in 2020 in comparison to 2019, and in 2019 in comparison to 2018. He has grown little by little each year, yet he feels like a player who has a pretty clear ceiling.

What I like most about Edmunds’ 2021 season is that he felt more comfortable on the field than ever before, and more confident in his ability to make quick decisions. That manifested itself in his eight tackles for loss, especially when you consider that he only had four combined in his first three seasons.

That’s a statistic that really highlights the step forward that he took last year, but it wasn’t just his work behind the line of scrimmage where we saw him play with greater confidence. As much as fans like to knock him for his coverage, he made a number of good plays in one-on-one situations, including a key pass defensed downfield against Mark Andrews against the Ravens. He’ll never be mistaken as a coverage safety in the vein of Troy Polamalu at the strong spot, but he doesn’t get as much credit in that phase as he deserves.

Free Agency Outlook:

With all that being said, there’s a reason the Steelers chose not to pick up his rather meager fifth-year option, which would have been valued at $6.753 million. While that might be slightly higher, than what you would want to pay him on average, generally, players don’t actually play through their fifth-year option year, but rather sign an extension.

The prevailing consensus seems to be that Edmunds’ value falls somewhere in that range, between $5-7 million per season. I’m sure the Steelers are very interested in bringing him back, but I’m also sure they won’t go so far as to overpay him (though what they consider overpaying may be more than what many fans would view as overpaying for him).

I imagine him coming back this offseason, perhaps on a short multi-year deal, right in that ballpark of $6 million a year. Kevin Colbert last year said the decision not to tender him was based on the salary cap and the fact that they had Fitzpatrick’s option coming the same year, insisting that 2020 was his best season. 2021 was even better for him, so because of that, I definitely don’t see them balk at bringing him back in that $6-7 million range if that’s what it costs on the open market.

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