The Pittsburgh Steelers may have lined up two options at safety. Retain Terrell Edmunds or, failing that, sign Jordan Whitehead in free agency. According to 93.7 The Fan’s Andrew Fillipponi, the team hopes to re-sign Edmunds but will target Whitehead if Edmunds hits free agency.
Last offseason, Pittsburgh declined Edmunds’ fifth-year option, normally a bad sign for the odds of a player remaining with the team after their rookie contract expires. But Edmunds has shown slow but steady improvement over his career, particularly in coverage, and the Steelers don’t have an in-house replacement for him.
He would likely be a relatively cost-effective option to pair next to Minkah Fitzpatrick, poised to become the league’s highest-paid safety by the end of the summer. Edmunds fills his role as a classic box safety well enough, playing there 29.6% of the time and racking up a career-high eight tackles for loss in 2021.
According to Fillippoini, if Edmunds can’t be brought back (it takes two to tango, after all), the team will target Tampa Bay’s Jordan Whitehead. He is a Pittsburgh native, attending Aliquippa High School before committing to the University of Pittsburgh.
A fourth-round pick by the Bucs in 2018, he’s been a steady presence for Tampa, recording between 69 and 76 tackles in all four of his years with the team. In 14 starts last season, he notched 73 tackles, two interceptions, and one forced fumble. While Whitehead isn’t as big as Edmunds, he’s a run-and-hit safety who plays larger than his size. Like Edmunds, he has youth on his side, not turning 25 until next week.
In addition to Edmunds, the Steelers will have secondary decisions to make with CBs Joe Haden, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Arthur Maulet. All three are slated to hit free agency Wednesday. Haden seems unlikely to return while Witherspoon has indicated he’ll at least test the open market before making a decision. Maulet could be brought back on the cheap as a run-down, nickel option.