With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we have turned our attention to the offseason. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: DT Breiden Fehoko
Stock Value: Purchased
Reasoning: The Steelers continued to make moves via free agency, agreeing to terms on two more contracts with outside players. That includes help for the defensive line with the addition of defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko, who has spent his career playing for the Los Angeles Chargers.
While nose tackle in a 3-4 defense is no longer a glamour spot, either in free agency or in the draft, it’s one of those positions if you don’t have what you need, you’re going to get exposed. The Steelers’ front minus a healthy Tyson Alualu the past two years has seen that, though there was a notable improvement last year.
Montravius Adams, until further notice, remains the Steelers’ primary nose tackle, but he now has depth, perhaps even a challenger. Breiden Fehoko reportedly signed a one-year contract with the team yesterday or at least agreed to terms, according to agent David Canter.
A college free agent out of LSU, Fehoko has only logged 19 games since then, including a season-high nine last season, with three starts. He recorded 23 tackles for the Los Angeles Chargers during the 2022 season, including one for loss, across a career-high 279 defensive snaps. He has 420 defensive snaps since entering the NFL.
The new Steeler provides “dollar menu beef in the middle”, so summarizes our own Alex Kozora in taking a closer look at the newest member of Pittsburgh’s front. His takeaway describes Fehoko as a limited but potentially effective run-stopper, which is fine for the price the team will inevitably pay—likely a veteran minimum deal.
One thing that can’t be argued is that the Steelers were in need of defensive line depth, including at the nose tackle position. Fehoko provides one option — even if not a shining, glimmering one but a needed one — with Alualu likely to retire.
The team also has Renell Wren and Jonathan Marshall on the 90-man roster, and both should have the opportunity to compete for a roster spot later this summer. By no means should the signing of Fehoko cause the Steelers to lose interest in adding a more dynamic nose tackle to the mix during the draft next month, should the opportunity arise to do so.