2022 Offseason Questions: Will Steelers Have A Definitive Answer About Tuitt By Draft?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.

This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others.

Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor is heading into free agency, as is Trai Turner.

These are the sorts of topics among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.

Question: Will the Steelers have a definitive answer about Stephon Tuitt’s status for 2022 by draft time?

It’s now April. It’s draft month. Teams want and need to have as much information as possible at that point about what they can anticipate their roster to look like before they start carving out draft priorities based on positional need and related factors.

So how big of a need do the Steelers have at defensive end? Is Stephon Tuitt going to be starting at left end opposite Cameron Heyward? Because the answer to that question is momentous. Tuitt possesses superior, game-changing talent, and the Steelers clearly missed that last year.

While multiple members of the organization have expressed optimism in the past month about Tuitt playing this year, ultimately, none of them have indicated that they know for sure one way or another. At least for me, that’s not too concerning, until we get to the draft.

If Tuitt isn’t going to play in 2022 or in any other year, then they need to start finding another starter, period. Chris Wormley can do okay as a spot starter, but you don’t plan for him to be in your starting lineup. Ideally, he’s your number three guy. And Isaiahh Loudermilk doesn’t have a ceiling like Tuitt or Heyward.

And that’s the other thing. Tuitt is still on the right side of 30. Heyward is not. Like it or not, even if he defies the odds, his career is winding down. He will be 33 the week after the draft. How much longer can he realistically play? Until he’s 36-37, to be generous?

Who can say for sure? When a player at that position gets to be that age, you start looking for another potential starter no matter what, even if he keeps plugging along. At worst, you just have really good depth. So if they don’t have Tuitt, then depth is a REALLY big deal. As if last year didn’t tell us that.

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