2023 Stock Watch – OLB Malik Reed – Stock Down

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we turn our attention to the offseason and everything that means. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.

Player: OLB Malik Reed

Stock Value: Down

Reasoning: The Steelers have been signaling that they were not impressed with Malik Reed’s performance over the course of the 2022 season, a fair indication that he will not be brought back for next year. A late trade acquisition, he was made a healthy scratch late in the season, and they just recently brought back a former draft pick of their own at the position as they look to revamp the outside linebacker depth.

A former college free agent, Malik Reed signed a standard three-year contract after agreeing to join the Denver Broncos following the 2019 NFL Draft. That left him as a restricted free agent entering the 2022 season. The Broncos re-signed him for the tendered amount of $2.43 million, but when the Steelers agreed to trade for him, his salary was cut down to $1.5 million.

Pittsburgh did not pay much for him, sending a sixth-round pick and getting a seventh-round pick back, but one wonders if they feel they even got their money’s worth out of him given that they did not even play him over the course of the final two weeks of the season, and his snap count had already been trending downward.

Couple that with his minimal contributions on special teams (which were reduced to nothing after the bye, except for one game) and the fact that they just brought back Quincy Roche, their own 2021 sixth-round draft pick, and they’re not signaling right now that they’re anticipating re-signing Reed.

Now, chances are that he will be available to be had for a one-year, minimum salary deal, which for the 2023 season would be $1.08 million for a fifth-year veteran. The minimum salary for a player with zero credited seasons is $750,000, so the difference between his minimum value and the minimum possible value is not great.

But why would they even bother if they didn’t think he was worth dressing by the end of the year? They had Jamir Jones playing ahead of him and only dressing three outside linebackers, in spite of the fact that they had an inside linebacker and core special teamer, Marcus Allen, on the Reserve/Injured List by then.

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