2023 Offseason Questions: What Health Concerns Might Steelers Have In Re-Signing Larry Ogunjobi?

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: What health concerns might the Steelers have about Larry Ogunjobi in considering re-signing him?

The reason Larry Ogunjobi lost out on a three-year, $40.5 million contract a little less than a year ago was solely because of his health. Recovering from a foot injury that he suffered during the playoffs, Ogunjobi failed his physical after having agreed to terms with the Chicago Bears, who rescinded the deal.

It was months later before he signed a one-year, $8 million contract to play the 2022 season with the Steelers, essentially a prove-it deal with the chance of hitting the open market again. But it’s hard to see him commanding another eight-figure salary based only on his body of work in the black and gold.

That’s not meant to be a slight about his abilities at all. His performance was better than his final numbers looked, particularly as a pass rusher. But he also missed a lot of practice time due to injuries throughout the year, even if it only cost him one game.

I do wonder if the Steelers will take his health and durability into consideration when weighing the prospects of re-signing Ogunjobi and how cautious they may not be based on their own experiences and knowledge of what he’s been through.

Sometimes you just have to be resilient and trust your process”, he said about his injury-impacted season earlier this offseason. “There’s obviously ups and downs. Seasons can play out a whole bunch of different ways. You take it one day at a time, stay focused, trust your process and just find ways to get better each and every day”.

The past is in the past and no longer in his control. He can only work to put himself in the best positions moving forward to stay on the field as much as he can. It won’t hurt to be another year removed from that foot injury; whoever he signs with, whether it be Pittsburgh or elsewhere, should feel reasonably confident they’ll be seeing more of the 2021 player.

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