The Pittsburgh Steelers have been anything but quiet in free agency. Since the legal tampering period opened last week, Pittsburgh signed five players outside the organization, including CB Patrick Peterson, OGs Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig, and ILBs Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts. They also brought back S Damontae Kazee and DL Larry Ogunjobi, who are key contributors on the defensive side of the football, as well as CB James Pierre, a respectable backup and core special-teams contributor.
Pro Football Focus came out with its latest 2023 NFL free agency grades for all 16 AFC teams this morning and gave the Steelers a B+ grade for their transactions. PFF specifically commended the signings of Peterson and Seumalo, two players it held in high regard.
“Peterson turned back the clock with his highest-graded season since 2018,” PFF wrote. “On the field for 645 coverage snaps in the 2022 regular season, Peterson allowed just 43 receptions for 534 yards, including three touchdowns. He recorded five interceptions and set a career high with nine pass breakups over the course of the year.”
Peterson was PFF’s seventh-rated CB in 2022 according to its metrics, the 12-year veteran forced 15 incompletions and picked off five passes, having his best season in the past five years. He may be turning the ripe age of 33 this year, but Peterson’s talent, instincts, and experience should allow him to continue to produce at a high level, like last season, should health be on his side in 2023.
“Seumalo was the top guard available on our free agent board, and while his age and injury history may have limited his market a bit, Pittsburgh still did very well here,” PFF wrote. “Seumalo earned a career-high 75.2 overall grade in 2022 and his third straight 77.0-plus pass-blocking grade on the season. Notably, this career year was Seumalo’s first starting on the right side after years of predominantly excelling as a left guard, which goes to show his versatility and talent.”
The Seumalo signing came out of left field for the Steelers. They had signed his former teammate, Nate Herbig, just a couple days earlier as a player that looked to compete with Kevin Dotson for the starting LG spot. Now, it appears that Seumalo is locked into that job with Herbig likely being the team’s swing IOL.
Seumalo may not be the biggest name from the Philadelphia Eagles OL the past several years, but the analytics and the film back up the fact that he is one of the best at his position in the league. Seumalo is coming off a career year in 2022, when he played all 20 games for the Super Bowl runner-up and showcased impressive play both as a run blocker and pass protector. Having mainly played LG prior to 2022, Seumalo should fit right in alongside C Mason Cole and either LT Dan Moore Jr. or whomever Pittsburgh has at the blindside this coming season.