‘It Was Fun:’ Tomlin On Rare Steelers’ Free Agency Spending

In a normal Pittsburgh Steelers’ offseason, not much happens. A re-signing or two, a dumpster-dive free agent brought in on a cheap, near-minimum type of deal and we have to spend the next two weeks convincing ourselves that Joe Haeg will transform the Steelers chances this season.

2022 wasn’t a normal offseason and their busy week woke Steelers’ fans up quicker than a Will Smith slap across the face. Flush with cap space for the first time in a longtime, Pittsburgh was as active as any team during the first week and wave of free agency. They signed multiple players to multi-year deals, starting off with QB Mitch Trubisky and highlighted by OG/C James Daniels.

An active free agency was a first of Mike Tomlin, a man who doesn’t have many of those in this stage of his head coaching career. Sitting down with’s Missi Matthews, Tomlin talked about what that process was like.

“It was fun,” Tomlin told Matthews with a smile he couldn’t hide. “It’s always good to shop. To acquire talent. And there’s two critical ways to acquire talent – free agency and the draft. And free agency came first and it was good to be major players in it. I think it gives us flexibility and comfort as we push into the draft.”

In addition to Trubisky and Daniels, the team signed several other players during the first week of the new league year: CB Levi Wallace, OG/C Mason Cole, LB Myles Jack, and WR Gunner Olszewski while retaining the services of OT Chukwuma Okorafor and later, holding onto CB Ahkello Witherspoon and DT Montravius Adams.

But Pittsburgh walked the fine line well, paying players handsomely but not tying up monster money over the next four seasons. The contracts they gave out were all generally team-friendly and easy to get out of after one-season but giving the team flexibility to keep those players if they pan out. And as Tomlin mentioned, the team will look to the draft to bolster its roster more, especially when it comes to quarterback.

Truthfully, the Steelers have always had a free agency approach to complement their draft choices, often pairing veterans with rookies at the same position. With more money this year, Pittsburgh was able to be more aggressive about it and add better talent to bigger contracts. Their free agency work likely isn’t over yet either. Strong safety is completely wide open and slot receiver isn’t looking much better. The Steelers will almost certainly add to one, or both, of those spots before next month’s draft kicks off.

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