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: DB Damontae Kazee
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: The Steelers reportedly agreed to terms with free agent defensive back Damontae Kazee following the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft, on a one-year deal that likely will be rather cheap.
We interrupt your regularly-scheduled draft pick stock updates with a free agency stock update. Following the completion of the third day of the 2022 NFL Draft, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported that the Steelers had agreed to terms on a one-year contract to sign free agent Damontae Kazee. Not that it would make a difference, but chances are the deal wouldn’t even be robust enough to qualify for the compensatory formula (they ain’t getting no compensatory picks anyhow).
Defensive back was an area that president Art Rooney II said prior to the second day of the draft that the team would like to target, but they surely had in the back of their mind the option of signing Kazee. No doubt, they had spoken to his agent, and had some type of informal understanding that they would sign him if they don’t get what they were looking for in the draft.
Now they have him, and now they have quality depth not only at safety, but also in the slot, because Kazee can play both positions, and may wind up being their dime defender, or perhaps even their nickel, with one of Ahkello Witherspoon or Levi Wallace acting instead as depth—or even Cameron Sutton.
A fifth-round pick in 2017, Kazee, soon to turn 29 years old, has started 49 of 69 career games. He started 15 of 17 games last season with the Dallas Cowboys. He has 12 career interceptions, seven of which came in 2018. He had two last season, and three in 2019. He was limited to only four games in 2020. In addition to his 12 career interceptions, he also has seven forced fumbles.