The Pittsburgh Steelers have been quite busy so far in free agency, with six players added from the outside to date. With the bulk of the signing period now over with throughout the NFL, a panel of ESPN contributors were polled on various aspects of the 2022 NFL free agency signing period. One of questions that the panel of ESPN experts was asked revolved around what each deemed as being the best bargain signing of free agency to date. Two of the 13 panel members picked signings by the Steelers.
ESPN NFL draft analyst Jordan Reid chose the Steelers’ addition of interior offensive lineman James Daniels as his answer, and below is his reasoning for doing so.
“Considering his age at the start of the season (25) and experience at both center and guard, it was surprising that the fourth year veteran didn’t demand more on the open market. Signing a three year, $26.5-million deal is great value for the Steelers at a need position. The former second-round pick likely will step in as the starter at right guard, but he is capable of playing any three positions along the interior. That type of versatility should have been coveted by more teams that were searching for interior offensive line help.”
Daniels figures to be a prize possession for the Steelers for at least the next three years, and it will now be interesting to see which guard spot he ultimately lands at, assuming the Steelers don’t want him to play center, the position he played in college at Iowa. It’s quite amazing that the Steelers were able to land James at an average yearly value of just under $9 million. He should bolster the Steelers’ offensive line quite a bit and be the new leader of the unit to boot.
ESPN NFL front office insider Mike Tannenbaum, on the other hand, chose the Steelers’ addition of quarterback Mitch Trubisky as his answer, and below is his reasoning for doing so.
“Trubisky needs to clean up his red zone interceptions after having eight in Chicago, but even if he plays slightly above average, his deal will be a massive bargain ($7.1 million per year) compared to all of the other recent quarterback deals. For instance, how much worse is he really than Kirk Cousins? Cousins just signed an extension that averages $35 million per year.”
That’s an interesting perspective from Tannenbaum on Trubisky, who could quite easily be one-and-done in Pittsburgh if the Steelers draft a quarterback in the first round this year. Trubisky played less than 50 offensive snaps last season with the Buffalo Bills and attempted all of eight passes on his way to earning $2.5 million in 2021. That’s the main reason the Steelers got him for so cheap this offseason, and why Tannenbaum made him his choice.
While Tannenbaum believes the Steelers addition of Trubisky is the bargain offseason free agency signing so far, Matt Bowen, an NFL analyst for ESPN, has the Steelers’ addition of the former first -ound draft pick out of North Carolina as his biggest head-scratching free agent signing of the offseason to date. Below is the reason Bowen gave for having Trubisky as his choice for that poll question category.
“In Matt Canada’s offense, the Steelers can set up Trubisky with defined throws off movement and play-action. I still have concerns about Trubisky’s ability as a pocket thrower in critical game situations, though — that’s the mechanics and the eyes. Let’s see if Pittsburgh drafts a rookie quarterback to compete with him next month.”
Those are legitimate concerns from Bowen and ones that likely led to Trubisky being such a bargain this offseason. Quite honestly, it will be a big surprise if the Steelers don’t draft a quarterback this year in the first or second rounds. If they do, Trubisky could possibly be on the bench come the end of the 2022 regular season, and then out of Pittsburgh completely by this same time next year.