2023 Offseason Questions: At Which Position Should Steelers Target A Starter In Free Agency?

The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead, they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.

On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.

Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answering, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.

Question: At which position should the Steelers realistically target a starter in free agency, if any?

Although the salary cap is due to see a robust increase in 2023, the Steelers aren’t necessarily swimming in cap space. That’s not to say that they don’t have any number of moves they can make to help lighten the load, but there would be some work to do if they had their eyes set on signing any outside free agents of starter quality.

They got a relative handful of them last year, signing defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi, linebacker Myles Jack, cornerback Levi Wallace, and offensive linemen James Daniels and Mason Cole. It’s the most they’d ever spent in an offseason on outside names, interestingly in Kevin Colbert’s final year as general manager.

When a new general manager takes over, the front office tends to get remade, and the roster tends to turn over more to better reflect the new GM’s priorities. That makes it a bit more likely that a team will be more aggressive in free agency, at least in theory.

So let’s say, theoretically, the Steelers believe they can and should add a new starter this offseason via outside free agency. Realistically speaking, what position should they target that would be both affordable and a clear upgrade?

The answer to the question will probably be shaped by decisions they make with their own roster, both among those scheduled to become free agents themselves as well as potential releases among high-salaried players, such as Jack. I will say that it doesn’t sound like they have any intention of alleviating themselves of Mitch Trubisky’s cap hit.

But inside linebacker is already a concern even if they don’t release Jack, considering both of their alternative starting options (barring 2022 rookie Mark Robinson) are pending free agents themselves. Ogunjobi’s defensive end spot is up for grabs as well if he doesn’t return, not to mention nose tackle, and potentially cornerback and safety depending on the activity on their own free agents.

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