Nearly a full year removed from signing his record-setting extension making him the highest-paid defender in football, it’s well-known just how things played out for T.J. Watt late in the negotiation process.
According to reports, Watt walked into the front office, ignoring the advice of his agent, and stated to the Steelers he wanted to sign right then and there and get back to playing football.
Apparently that rubbed off on teammates, as Pittsburgh Steelers’ veteran safety Terrell Edmunds stated he did something similar late in the free agency process, which found him on the open market much longer than he anticipated.
Speaking with Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette following a recent minicamp practice at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side, Edmunds stated that there was a change in his overall thought process as a free agent, leading to him signing with the Steelers, allowing him to get back to playing football and showing his teammates he was all-in again.
“I was willing to wait it out, then it was a turning point where it was more so, what was I waiting for? Just go make a decision,” Edmunds said regarding his free agency process, according to reporting from Dulac. “I know where I wanted to be. I knew what was best for me. So then I just made the decision and that was that. It was really a spontaneous thing.
“Let’s just go out, get back in the building, get back with the guys, and show them I’m here for them 110%.”
That sounds a lot like Watt’s decision, no? It does for me, at least.
Edmunds certainly wasn’t getting the attention he deserved on the open market as a reliable safety week-in, week-out in the NFL. Though he’s not the flashiest safety and doesn’t create many turnovers, he’s not going to miss many tackles, and he has the best ability: availability, having missed just one game in four years, playing more than 4,000 career snaps overall.
Though the money and the term certainly isn’t what Edmunds was looking for overall once he hit free agency, getting a chance to re-sign with the Steelers, and step into a familiar setting with the same scheme, coaches and teammates is a huge positive for Edmunds, who aims to rebuild his overall stock in the NFL ahead of free agency next season.
That probably played a role in Edmunds changing his thought process, moving quickly to re-sign with the Steelers days before the 2022 NFL Draft, which could have possibly closed the door entirely, depending on what the Steelers could — or would — have done in the draft.
The Steelers are better off having Edmunds back in the fold at strong safety, thanks to his change in mentality sitting on the open market in free agency.