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: Terrell Edmunds was Plan B for the Steelers.
Explanation: As is usually the case, we had some conflicting information when it came to the Steelers’ approach to acquiring a veteran strong safety. We were told that there was a standing offer on the table for Terrell Edmunds, for example, and how the situation played out seems to indicate that was true. But we were also told that they were waiting to see what happens with other players, including Tyrann Mathieu, who remains unsigned. So did they fall back on Edmunds, or were they just exploring alternatives while waiting on Edmunds to either accept or reject their offer?
The guy you offer the least money to is never your Plan A. if they went after Tyann Mathieu, then there’s no way they weren’t willing to pay him at least double what they offered Edmunds per year, and more likely quadruple that amount. If you’re willing to pay a guy $10 million, or $8 million, he’s your option over the guy you offer a $2.5 million deal to.
The fact that the team was also reportedly going after Kareem Jackson before he signed his deal is yet another indication. There was a lot of smoke around the names of other free agents for Edmunds to have been their top option all along. And if he was their top option, they probably would have offered to pay him more.
I can’t fully reconcile the idea that Edmunds was re-signed to just a $2.5 million deal with the notion that he was their ‘top’ choice all along, but it’s all about price points at the end of the day. Maybe they would have been willing to offer Edmunds more if he actually had a competitive market, but the lack of significant interest in him lowered his price, which made him hesitate to sign, so he waited to see what might develop before taking what he could get before teams start drafting safeties.
The Steelers were willing to risk losing Edmunds in order to ensure that they get him for the best possible price, but that doesn’t mean that he was their last resort. It does seem like they had a standing offer out there for him all along. if he accepted it three weeks ago, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But he did wait, so here we are.