Now that the 2021 season is over, bringing yet another year of disappointment, a fifth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the season and into the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: S Karl Joseph
Stock Value: Down
Reasoning: With the Steelers’ decision to re-sign Terrell Edmunds, but to do so only on a modest one-year contract, it is my belief that the team is much more likely to still draft a safety this week, relatively early, which would make it much more difficult for Karl Joseph to find a home on the 53-man roster.
The Steelers now have six safeties on their 90-man roster as they head into the 2022 NFL Draft, including all who were on the 53-man roster and the practice squad a year ago, following their latest move at the position.
So far this offseason, the team has re-signed starter Terrell Edmunds, as well as special-teams ace Miles Killebrew, and also brought back veteran Karl Joseph, who spent the 2021 season on the practice squad.
Of the three, Joseph is clearly on the bottom rung.
And the nature of Edmunds’ return is potentially a cause for concern for Joseph. The Steelers only re-signed him on a one-year contract worth $2.5 million. Such a deal not only fails to give them long-term security, but also potentially indicates a desire to seek an alternative option for the future.
Which would mean drafting another safety who could be groomed to be ready to start in 2023. And that would most likely mean drafting one fairly early, at least by the middle rounds, in which case, it’s almost a guarantee that Joseph would be on the outside looking in.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Edmunds, Tre Norwood, and Miles Killebrew are all locks or near locks for the 53-man roster this year, as the returning players from last year’s roster. If you add a rookie draft pick into that mix, then it’s simply very hard to see Joseph knocking somebody else out of the mix.
So what do others think of Edmunds’ contract? Do you read a similar intent into the nature of the deal as I do, in that it signals a temporary solution that could still result in the Steelers addressing the position reasonably early in the draft?