It’s that time of year again. Free agency officially starts today, so before we get there, we’ll get going over the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster, position by position, making an assessment of what kind of shape they’re in, trying to figure out how they might, or should, attack the roster on that basis.
The Steelers have several key players due to become unrestricted free agents, and a number of large contracts could be salary cap casualties, so a lot will be changing, but this is where things stand, at each position, as of this writing.
Total Positional Figure: 3
Chris Boswell: The one-time Pro Bowler is coming off the second-worst season of his career, connecting on just 71.4 percent of his field goals in 2022. He made 20 out of 28, though one of the misses was blocked, and all but one of the misses were from 40-plus yards. Boswell did make all of his extra points. His season was interrupted by groin injury, and he missed five games.
Pressley Harvin III: Though he showed modest improvement in his second season, particularly in having fewer negative punts, Harvin still has a ways to go. That his numbers in 2022 were average is a step in the right direction, it should be said. It is not uncommon for punters to gradually get better after a few years in the league.
Christian Kuntz: If there actually is anybody out there who dedicates serious time to studying the long snappers of the league, I would imagine that Christian Kuntz would not be counted among the best. Nor, likely, would he be among the worst. But his snap accuracy consistency can be improved upon, and for a player with a linebacker’s background, he’s not making much impact in coverage.
Pending Free Agents: N/A
For the time being, the Steelers have no competition for any of their specialists. Harvin still has two years left on his rookie contract, while Kuntz was retained as an exclusive-rights free agent. He will be a restricted free agent next year, but we can bet that he will not be tendered.
Boswell has four years left on his contract, which runs through 2026. He has a $1.3 million roster bonus that is due in two days, with a base salary for the season of $2.74 million. The only way the Steelers could save cap space this year would be to make him a post-June cut.
Though Boswell is coming off a bad season, that’s hard to imagine. It’s also hard to imagine him agreeing to delay his roster bonus again like he did the last time he was coming off a bad season and had to re-earn his roster spot.
Still, the Steelers could and probably should give serious consideration to addressing all three specialist positions, although ideally not via a draft pick. They do have two seventh-round picks, so if there is a kicker they really like, it wouldn’t be completely shocking if they picked him.