The Pittsburgh Steelers fully expect veteran defensive tackle Tyson Alualu to be back and ready to play at the start of the 2022 season. The 34-year-old veteran said himself that he is coming back for a 13th season this year after fracturing his ankle in Week 2.
That didn’t stop them from bringing back Montravius Adams, who finished the season as their starting nose tackle after the team first acquired him off of the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad at the very end of November. They re-signed the sixth-year veteran to a two-year, $5 million contract.
Speaking to reporters after signing, he said that he thinks he and Alualu can make a good one-two punch in the middle of that defensive line, understanding that he will not be the central focus at that position. he also talked about team expectations for himself moving forward.
“From exit interviews to now, I would just kind of speak on the things of, just coming in trying to be a better technician, getting my feet a little wet by being in the system early”, he told reporters about what conversations he has had with the team thus far. “I get to be in the playbook. We kind of got a new DC, so we don’t know if some of the plays are gonna change or not. Really, the thing is just getting a jump start now instead of, kind of how he said last year, hopping on the moving train”.
Originally drafted in the third round in 2017 by the Green Bay Packers, Adams played out his rookie contract there as a reserve, with three starts in 45 games, recording 44 tackles with a sack and a half, three passes defensed, and a forced fumble. He ended his career there with a foot injury in 2020 that landed him on the Reserve/Injured List.
The New England Patriots signed Adams as a free agent last year, but he did not make the 53-man roster. He still credits them with helping him in his rehab, acknowledging that they signed him understanding that he was recovering from injury. The Saints then signed him, where he played five games, starting one, before they moved him to their practice squad.
The Steelers were hurting across the defensive line—literally, with three linemen on the Reserve/Injured List—when they signed Adams, and he had an immediate impact. In all, he started four of five games played at the end of the regular season, recording eight tackles with one for loss and a pass defensed in 171 snaps. He also had a tackle and a sack across 27 snaps in their playoff loss.
Though he is now going into his sixth season, the Steelers still see room for growth in Adams, and perhaps view him as their next starting nose tackle after Alualu retires, which is very likely to be after this season. He will have the 2022 season to fully integrate into their playbook and style of play under Teryl Austin and Karl Dunbar (and Mike Tomlin).