Buy Or Sell: Steelers Will Take A Safety Early If Vet Isn’t Signed By Draft

With the 2022 new league year, the questions will be plenty for quite a while, even as the Pittsburgh Steelers spend cash and cap space and use draft picks in an effort to find answers. We don’t know who the quarterback is going to be yet—even if we have a good idea. How will the offensive line be formulated? How will the secondary develop amid changes, including to the coaching staff? What does Teryl Austin bring to the table—and Brian Flores? What will Matt Canada’s offense look like absent Ben Roethlisberger?

These sorts of uncertainties are what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).

Topic Statement: The Steelers will draft a safety early if they don’t sign one by the start of the draft.

Explanation: While the Steelers have reportedly (or presumably) had offers on the table for at least three veteran safeties, the fact of the matter is that they still don’t have a starter next to Minkah Fitzpatrick under contract. In the meantime, they have been doing their homework on the 2022 draft class at the position.


The Steelers primarily build their team through the draft. They’ve already spent more than they ordinarily do in outside free agency. If they exit the draft with an obvious hole in the starting lineup still, then they’ve failed to do their due diligence through the offseason process.

When is the last time that you can recall the Steelers exiting a draft while completely not addressing a very obvious starting hole? I’m not even talking about something like 2018 when they failed to draft an inside linebacker after Ryan Shazier’s injury. At least they signed Jon Bostic. At safety, they have Tre Norwood, Karl Joseph, and Miles Killebrew. None of them are even Bostic.

So if Terrell Edmunds, if Tyrann Mathieu, if nobody else is willing to sign a deal by the time the Steelers are on the clock, you should expect a safety to be one of their top three picks. Because they just can’t bet on signing a veteran afterward when they’ve already failed to reach a deal up to this point.


The Steelers doing their homework on the safeties this year is little more than due diligence, as they do every year with every position. At best, it’s leverage, signaling to the veteran safeties they’re in talks with that we can always draft a safety if you’re not going to sign.

The team has been pretty fixed on signing a veteran to play strong safety; it’s not really a position you would want a rookie playing, anyway. If anything, the ticking of the clock will hasten a deal being signed before the draft.

But even if it doesn’t, they won’t take a safety unless he’s the best player available. They would lose some leverage exiting the draft without one, but they’ll still have those offers on the table, and chances are teams with holes at safety will have drafted one. Either way, they’ll do what they have to do to sign one, even if it means upping their offer a bit.

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