Despite Flurry Of Offseason Moves, Steelers Fall Two Spots In ESPN’s Post-Free Agency Power Rankings

In what was an uncharacteristically busy offseason in free agency, the Pittsburgh Steelers under General Manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin seemingly improved on paper in some key areas.

From the signing of quarterback Mitch Trubisky as the bridge option to open the post-Ben Roethlisberger era, to the signings of veteran offensive linemen James Daniels and Mason Cole, as well as the under-the-radar signing of cornerback Levi Wallace and the splash signing of linebacker Myles Jack, the Steelers certainly appear to have improved.

ESPN NFL Nation doesn’t quite seem to agree though, dropping the Steelers two spots in their post-free agency power rankings from No. 18 overall to No. 20 as the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos jumped multiple spots ahead of them.

Though power rankings are a fun exercise and mean relatively nothing overall, they are an indicator of how the national media views teams, and based on the Steelers’ slight slide in the power rankings, there’s a belief the Steelers didn’t get better from last season to this season, which is hard to understand.

Regardless, within the power rankings, ESPN identified the next possible offseason move for each time. Unsurprisingly, the Steelers’ next move was identified as “sign a starting safety” by ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, who covers the Steelers.

“Minkah Fitzpatrick is one of the best safeties in the league, but he needs a running mate,” Pryor writes. “The Steelers declined Terrell Edmunds’ fifth-year option, making him a free agent. He is still available after the first wave of free agency, but so is Tyrann Mathieu. But the Honey Badger doesn’t fit the mold of a Steelers free agent. At 29 years old, Mathieu is older than most of the Steelers’ free-agent signings, and he would probably command a higher-priced contract.”

After allowing Terrell Edmunds to hit the open market and not signing a veteran in his place, the Steelers are certainly in the market for a starting safety next to Minkah Fitzpatrick. Of course, the Steelers are certainly still monitoring the market, and would like to re-sign Edmunds at the right price according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac, but there’s been relatively no movement on the safety market that has forced their hand.

While Colbert did state that Mathieu is an unlikely addition to the Steelers due to a preference to add players coming off of their first contract or as close to their first contract as possible, Colbert was quick to point out that the Steelers need a starter and will likely add a safety with experience to the room.

Who that player is remains to be seen, though the Steelers have been tied to former Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys veteran Damontae Kazee, and are still monitoring Edmunds’ market overall. There’s a good chance one of those two are signed by the Steelers, allowing Pittsburgh to at least have an insurance policy at the position ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Of course, neither would break the bank and could likely be had on a one- or two-year deal at below market value, considering they’ve been on the market this long. The addition of either Edmunds or Kazee would not block the Steelers from drafting a safety either, especially on Day 2 if they find the right fit overall.

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