2022 Exit Meetings – DL Tyson Alualu

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted before they even reached the postseason, which unfortunately marked the sixth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—tying their longest drought of the Super Bowl era. They found themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so did we.

The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-8 and nearly making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Haden to most of their wide receiver room, not to mention Stephon Tuitt’s decision to retire.

While we might not know all the details about what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2022 season.

Player: Tyson Alualu

Position: DL

Experience: 13 Years

Tyson Alualu officially becomes an unrestricted free agent at 4 PM/EST today. It naturally leads one to wonder whether or not he will ever be under contract again—barring perhaps a one-day deal to formally retire with one of the two teams with whom he spent his career.

The 10th overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, Alualu spent seven seasons there before signing the Steelers in free agency in 2017. He initially played defensive end and provided depth, though at various times he had to assume larger roles due to injuries.

The Steelers moved him to nose tackle in 2020, following the loss of Javon Hargrave, and he had arguably his best professional season, finding his niche as a two-gapping run-stopper. He was one of the best run-stopping interior defenders in the league that season.

Unfortunately, things wouldn’t quite be the same after that. Alualu suffered a broken ankle two games into the 2021 season and missed the rest of the year. He said he wasn’t going to retire because he didn’t want to go out with an injury, but it may have been better that way.

Alualu did not look like the same player when he returned. In fact, he lost his starting job just a couple games into the regular season. He still ended up playing nearly 300 defensive snaps over the course of the year, but they proved to be low-impact reps.

The most troubling turn in his game was watching him get beaten in one-on-one matchups, even overpowered and knocked to the ground. Alualu was never one of the bigger defensive tackles, but he had as stout an anchor as any. Too many times that anchor dragged him to the grass last year.

Most people assume he will retire ahead of his age-36 season. He may. The odds of that happening improve steadily if the Steelers opt not to pursue him.

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