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: Could the Steelers flip starters at inside linebacker this season with Bobby Wagner as they did last season with Myles Jack?
The Steelers made the decision in training camp to acquire former Pro Bowler Joe Schobert at inside linebacker via trade. It was reported that it was Pittsburgh who approached Jacksonville about the move. They gave up a fifth-round pick for him in spite of his high salary.
Then they released him the following March after they signed the Jaguars’ other starting linebacker who was just released, Myles Jack. Brought in on a two-year, $16 million contract, he is due $8 million in 2023 and many have questioned if he will play under that deal.
With the news that perennial All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner is now free after the Los Angeles Rams released him after one season, speculation has already begun regarding the Steelers potentially pursuing him as they did Jack.
There were some reports a year ago that the Steelers had interest in Wagner as he was set to be a free agent for the first time in his career. Those reports were not robust, however, and they quickly became moot after the Jack deal was done.
Set to turn 33 years old in June, Wagner doesn’t fit the typical free agent mold for the Steelers front office, starting with the fact that he’s 30-plus years old. But the Steelers also have a different front office than the one that ran the show for the past two decades.
If they did go after him, chances are pretty good that they would try to use void years on what would effectively be a one-year deal in order to absorb part of his cap hit. He may be getting long in the tooth, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be a bargain.