2023 Offseason Questions: How Big A Need Is Safety After Re-Signing Damontae Kazee?

The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.

On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.

Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.

Question: How big of a need is the safety position after re-signing Damontae Kazee?

There was some debate after the Steelers signed Damontae Kazee following the 2022 NFL Draft whether or not the team should have him compete with Terrell Edmunds (who was re-signed shortly before the draft) for the starting strong safety position.

That competition never really developed in earnest, even though Kazee is a very experienced starter, and a broken arm at the end of the preseason didn’t help him any. They’ve now re-signed him, however, while Edmunds is still on the open market.

How much should we read into that, to begin with? Does this imply that they are comfortable with Kazee as the starter—more “comfortable” than they were with Mason Rudolph as the potential starting quarterback?

It could very well be that they still hope to re-sign Edmunds to be their starter, but like last season, they are allowing him to explore the full breadth of his market first before they can come to a determination on what would work for them.

Right now, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kazee are at the top of the depth chart, with Tre Norwood third and Miles Killebrew bringing up the rear. They also have Elijah Riley, who does have some starting experience in his background.

With this group of five safeties, how big of a need is the safety position moving forward? Do they need to add another player, with Edmunds or otherwise, to be a starter? Let’s say they do not add anybody else in free agency. How highly should they prioritize the position in the draft, given what they already have available? Minkah is Minkah, and Kazee does have a starting background.

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