Kozora: Can Terrell Edmunds Get Some Love?

Terrell Edmunds is the NFL’s, Rodney Dangerfield. The dude gets no respect.

No, he’s not an All-Star. Far from it. But he’s solid and steady as ever. His biggest sin was being the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first-round pick and hey, that wasn’t his fault. He didn’t decide.

Here’s who Edmunds is. Just turned 26 years old, athletic, and durable, playing at least 89% and 850+ defensive snaps in all five of his NFL seasons. How many safeties in football can say that?

His game has flaws. Obviously. He’s not a playmaker, he’s not a high-upside guy. His role is more limited and niche. Strong safety, playing in the box (a whopping 35.5% in 2022), and he saw extensive snaps as a dime backer type on third downs last season. Since entering the league in 2018, he’s just one of just 13 safeties to make 75+ starts over that span. At this point in his career, his game is pretty much maxed out. But what’s left is far from terrible and I can’t imagine how he’s likely to get paid pennies this offseason.

Last year, he sat in free agency until signing back with Pittsburgh right before the draft on a veteran qualifying deal. Now the market is the market and it spoke loudly about Edmunds but it’s the type of deal that a starting, every-down player should command.

Edmunds is yet again heading towards free agency and while we don’t know what the market will look like this time, his contract will probably again be meager. The guy clearly isn’t worth huge money. But a two-year, $6-million type of deal seems more than reasonable for a guy with Edmunds’ resume. He’s coming off arguably his best season in the NFL, even if it wasn’t his most statistically significant. His instincts were never a strong suit and the more football he played, the better he got. Edmunds is worth something that at least gives the illusion of a multi-year deal, a two-year contract that offers the appearance of stability and gives Pittsburgh options a year from now.

For the Steelers, there aren’t many other choices. The group of safeties in this year’s draft looks dreadful and Pittsburgh can’t afford to have another major need to address in late April. D-line, o-line, inside linebacker, and potentially several other spots. External free agents don’t offer much more, at least anyone who will cost far too much or a safety that’s already well over 30.

Edmunds isn’t a minimum-level player. He may not be too terribly above that but he’s worth a little something. He sits with the perfect combination of youth, experience, and good-enough play. Pittsburgh knows him, and how he fits, and a two-year deal for a couple of million is still low-risk. From a pure cost-per-snap standpoint, Edmunds has consistently been one of the league’s best-valued players, starting and rarely leaving the field.

He is who is he. That’s not changing. But what he is…it’s alright. It’s worth more than the NFL and market forces perceive him to be. For him, hopefully, that’ll change next month.

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