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: Joe Haeg
Experience: 6 Years
Veteran offensive lineman Joe Haeg almost undoubtedly cost the Steelers a compensatory late-round draft pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, but that was the cost of his providing valuable snaps on the field when they signed him as an unrestricted free agent, which is why he was brought in to begin with.
The Steelers gave the veteran a two-year, $4.6 million contract, of which he will earn $2.6 million in 2022, including a $500,000 roster bonus that is to be paid on March 21. He was brought in to provide depth, both at tackle and guard, and ultimately was called upon to play 307 snaps across 12 games, including two starts at tackle, one on the left side and one on the right.
While Haeg’s compensatory free agent contract was not large enough on its own to qualify into the compensatory formula, playing time factors relative to other compensatory free agents earned his deal enough points to qualify, which has been predicted to cancel out one of the draft picks they otherwise would have gotten. Pittsburgh has already been told to brace for bad news on this front, likely to receive no more than a fourth-round pick for the loss of Bud Dupree.
But none of that is Haeg’s fault, of course, and the reality is that he did his job. He figures to continue to provide valuable play as a reserve for this offensive line in 2022 as a swing tackle/guard and one of three reserves that will dress on Sundays, which is all you can ask for from him.