Yesterday on The Terrible Take, Dave Bryan of Steelers Depot talked about Pittsburgh Steelers TE Pat Freiermuth and the pace he could be on based off his 2021 season where he managed to reel in seven TD catches. That season alone put Freiermuth tied for eighth all-time in TD receptions by as Steelers TE, tying him with Eric Ebron, Matt Spaeth, and Jerame Tuman.
While Dave went on to talk about how catching another 7-9 TD passes could put him in rare company in terms of the most TD receptions by a TE in a two-season span or by a Steelers pass-catcher in general, I wanted to focus on another topic of conversation based on the chart above.
Should Pat Freiermuth continue to play football for the Pittsburgh Steelers past his rookie contract, will he surpass Heath Miller for the most TD receptions by a Steelers TE all-time?
For many Steelers fans, Heath Miller is somewhat of an underrated icon during the 2000s, being such a reliable target over the middle of the field for Ben Roethlisberger, making the clutch catches to move the chains. Still, while not a huge red zone threat, Miller did manage to catch 45 TDs in his career as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, coming out to roughly four TDs per season.
Obviously, Freiermuth got off to a hot start as a rookie, snagging seven TDs out of the gate. For reference, Miller caught six TDs as a rookie back in 2005 and didn’t hit seven TDs until his third season in the league. While Freiermuth may see some TD regression based on TDs-per-target from last season, he figuratively should only see more snaps and targets as he takes a step forward heading into his second season in the NFL. On top of this, Freiermuth has shown to be a reliable weapon in the red zone, making difficult catches look routine as times thanks to his sure hands and ability to play through contact.
Based on his pace thus far, Freiermuth would look to pass Miller in his seventh NFL season if he continues to average seven TDs a season. This can seem a difficult task as 7+ TDs a season is often reserved for the best TEs in the league. However, Freiermuth was drafted to be Pittsburgh’s solution at TE for the long-term and we could see fluctuations where he may score four TDs in one season and have that number spike up to ten should Pittsburgh have a great season offensively.
Freiermuth has been touted as a breakout player by several media outlets this offseason, and for good reason. He flashed in the opportunity he did have as a rookie and only should be more snaps and an increased role in the offense moving forward. Whether he surpasses Miller in all-time TD catches as a Steeler remains to be seen, but Freiermuth should be a focal point of the passing game for years to come in Pittsburgh.
What are your thoughts on TE Pat Freiermuth? Do you think he can pass Heath Miller in all-time TD catches by a Steelers TE? Do you think he will get the job done? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section blow and thanks again for reading!