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: ILB Myles Jack
Stock Value: Even
Reasoning: The veteran inside linebacker completed his first season in Pittsburgh on a low note, spending most of the final quarter of the year banged up and largely off the field. He was a tackling machine early on, but overall he offered low-impact play that at least opens up the conversation about his contract status for 2023.
Can you pay an inside linebacker with an injury history $8 million just to make tackles? That’s the question the Steeler face with Myles Jack this offseason. $8 million is what they owe him, and tackles are just about all they got out of him in his first season after signing him to a two-year, $16 million deal.
Specifically, he finished the season with 104 tackles, albeit with only three for loss, the first two of which came in weeks one and two. 58 of those tackles came in the first seven games. He had just 46 over the final 10 games of the season.
And he struggled to stay on the field as well. He missed two games due to injury, for one thing. He played under 70 percent of the snaps in six of his final seven games, despite routinely playing 85 percent or more at the start of the year.
That largely had to do with health, and while he has been able to log a high volume of snaps in the past, injuries have always been a part of the conversation with him. He hasn’t played a full season since 2018, for one thing.
And the other thing is—where’s the impact? 104 tackles. Okay. But what else? For $8 million? Three tackles for loss is unremarkable. Three passes defensed is unremarkable. Zero interceptions. Zero forced fumbles. Zero recovered fumbles. Zero sacks. He only registered one pressure all season.
The Steelers’ cap situation could be better. Do they want to wait and find out if Jack can be a more dynamic player in 2023, and hope that he can be healthier at the same time? Or would they rather free up that $8 million in salary cap space and try to use that elsewhere? Starting with re-signing Robert Spillane and seeing what Mark Robinson can do while drafting for the future?
One-and-done inside linebackers have been the theme in Pittsburgh. Jon Bostic. Mark Barron. Joe Schobert. Is Jack next? We should know within the next month or so.