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. That unfortunately marked the sixth-consecutive season in which the Steelers failed to win a postseason game—tying their longest drought of the Super Bowl era. Yet again, 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, 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 retirement.
While we might not know what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2022 season.
Player: Malik Reed
Experience: 4 Years
Acquired on Aug. 30 from the Denver Broncos for a swap of late-round draft picks, Malik Reed was brought in to serve as quality depth at the outside linebacker position. Little did he or the team know just how crucial that would turn out to be, and how soon.
T.J. Watt suffered pectoral and knee injuries in the season opener that knocked him out until after the bye week. Reed was not up to the challenge of filling in as a full-time starter even though he had served that role in Denver when Von Miller and Bradley Chubb were injured in separate years.
Reed ultimately played 14 games in Pittsburgh with two official starts, logging nearly 400 defensive snaps. He recorded 25 tackles, including one for loss, with one sack, four hits, and two passes defensed. His best play of the year was a batted pass in coverage that saved a likely touchdown.
But he was a healthy scratch in the final two games of the season. And the Steelers only dressed three outside linebackers for those games. That should have told everything that needed to be said about whether or not they had any intentions of continuing to work with him.
Whether or not he’ll have more luck in the future—he reportedly signed with the Miami Dolphins—and with the benefit of a full offseason remains to be seen, but the fact is it simply didn’t work out here. Maybe there was too much put on his plate too soon, coming in at the end of August and then being asked to play 40-plus snaps by Week Two. But regardless of the reason, both sides have moved on, and hopefully for the better.