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: Damontae Kazee
Experience: 6 Years
Will Damontae Kazee be a starter in 2023, and if so—or even if not—how many snaps will he play? That will be one of the questions the Steelers take under consideration as they continue on through their offseason.
Though not yet officially announced, the Steelers reportedly re-signed the veteran starter to a two-year, $6 million contract. That’s a bit more per season than Pittsburgh’s starting strong safety, Terrell Edmunds, got on a one-year deal with incentives from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Head coach Mike Tomlin did say that the Steelers intend to add to the safety room this offseason and was open to different options, whether through free agency or the draft. What exactly does that mean? Is it one of those “comfortable” situations where the Steelers say they’re willing to go into a season with Kazee as a starting option unless they find the means to bring in a better option?
His role has varied over the years, though he has in the past played the role of every-down safety. He was close to that most recently with the Dallas Cowboys in 2021, though his mid-season arrest seemed to correspond with his opportunities becoming more variable.
As it stands, Kazee returns for a second season in Pittsburgh having missed half of his first due to a broken arm. When he did come back, he logged 273 snaps with four starts in nine games, recording 20 tackles with two interceptions.
The team likes him both on the field and in the locker room, but will he be on the field for every down or will they use him in a more situational role—perhaps as the primary nickel, or even using dime as their base defense as they did in 2013? What the Steelers do with the safety position between now and the start of the season will determine that, I suppose.