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: Which pending unrestricted free agents should the Steelers let walk?
With free agency set to begin, it seems an appropriate time to ask this question. We have no control over what the Steelers will or will not do, but we certainly get to have our opinions about it. The only thing I would ask is that you bear in mind that the salary cap exists. And we will operate only in terms of whatever salary cap the team has. We won’t cheat and say, for example, that they should cut Mitch Trubisky unless they do.
So with that in mind, let’s break this up into a couple of different groups. We’ll begin with the most high-profile free agents, of which I believe we can limit it to just two. Those would be cornerback Cameron Sutton and defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi. Sutton could realistically see $10 million per season. Ogunjobi’s market is a bit more opaque, but he won’t be a bargain, either.
The second group to consider is the rest of the starters. Those are safety Terrell Edmunds, and inside linebackers Devin Bush and Robert Spillane. The latter two split starting duties. All of them have spent pretty much all of their career in Pittsburgh.
Last are the reserves, among whom the most notable is tight end Zach Gentry, who logged nearly 600 snaps last season. Wide receiver Miles Boykin, safeties Damontae Kazee and Karl Joseph, quarterback Mason Rudolph, inside linebacker Marcus Allen, defensive linemen Chris Wormley and Tyson Alualu, outside linebacker Malik Reed, offensive linemen Jesse Davis and Trent Scott, running back Benny Snell Jr., and fullback Derek Watt are in this group.
That’s the list—limited to unrestricted free agents only, not restricted, exclusive rights, or restricted free agents. Among them who should the Steelers simply let walk, and for what reasons?