2023 Offseason Questions: Should Steelers Have Been More Aggressive In Retaining Terrell Edmunds?

The Steelers are now in the 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: Should the Steelers have been more aggressive in trying to retain Terrell Edmunds?

As discussed yesterday, safety Terrell Edmunds now joins a long list of first-round draft picks over the past decade who played only one multi-year contract with the Steelers. T.J. Watt is the only one of their own first-round picks since David DeCastro in 2012 to sign a second multi-year contract. Bud Dupree played the second-most seasons with six, including his rookie contract with fifth-year option and a year under the franchise tag.

But that wasn’t for a lack of trying—though apparently they didn’t try very hard. Steelers general manager Omar Khan confirmed yesterday that the team did send Edmunds a contract offer, but he opted to sign a modest one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, which has a maximum value of $2.85 million with incentives.

The Steelers may have offered Edmunds another Four-Year Player Benefit contract as they did last offseason, which allowed him to earn $2,537,500 while only counting $1,187,500 against the cap. His compensation under a second such contract would have been $45,000 more due to the standard annual rise in minimum salaries.

I think it’s reasonable to assume that this was more a question of cap space than cash. Re-signing Edmunds to a contract as outlined above would have hardly made a dent in the cap, but if the Steelers were to have given him a deal similar to that given to Damontae Kazee, it would have raised the cap by about $1 million.

And if it were only a one-year deal, the full hit would have had to come this year. It’s quite possible Edmunds didn’t want a multi-year deal given the offers he was fielding, although one struggles to imagine his market value will improve much barring an unlikely breakout season.

But at the end of the day, should the Steelers have been willing to pony up, say, a $3 million-per-year deal? And would Edmunds have stayed, or would he have preferred trying his luck elsewhere?

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