We started this series with a little over two weeks remaining to the draft, knowing that nearly all of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ pertinent personnel decisions will have already been made by then. Over the course of the series, we will be reviewing the team’s roster turnover position by position in an effort to help us project what their plans will be for the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Steelers had a number of notable starters hit free agency this year, and their retention success rate was mixed, re-signing Larry Ogunjobi but losing Cameron Sutton, for example. Largely, however, what they lost they replaced, adding Patrick Peterson in Sutton’s stead.
They also had another active year in outside free agency beyond replacing missing pieces, or voluntary departures, such as Myles Jack. The most notable move was Isaac Seumalo being signed along the offensive line. While Terrell Edmunds is gone, Damontae Kazee was retained and Keanu Neal was added. Likewise, Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts come in and replace Devin Bush and Robert Spillane.
The team did not have to make drastic moves in order to get into cap compliance, but they did release two high-salaried players in linebacker Jack and William Jackson III, the latter of whom never dressed for them. As of now, they have restructured only one contract to create cap space, that being Minkah Fitzpatrick, though restructuring T.J. Watt later this offseason is very possible.
Total Positional Figure: 4
Offseason Additions: 1
Offseason Deletions: 0
Chris Boswell: Making 71.4 percent of your field goals is not great, at least not in 2022. It was wonderful, I’m sure, in 1942, but Boswell is earning over $4 million this year. They already paid him a $1.3 million roster bonus.
Pressley Harvin III: Harvin improved, in some areas considerably, during his second season last year, but he is still no better than a middle-of-the-pack punter. The Steelers also haven’t maximized his greatest asset, which is his power, even though they’ve had plenty of opportunities to try to flip the field.
Christian Kuntz: Two years, 34 games played, and no other long snappers on the roster. Is he safe? Well, Kameron Canaday may have felt safe before Kuntz beat him out.
Braden Mann: A 2020 sixth-round draft pick of the New York Jets, Mann has three years of punting experience at the NFL level, some of it pretty solid, especially after his rookie season. The Steelers claimed him off waivers, the problem being he is due to earn a Proven Performance Escalator pay increase, as Miles Boykin did last year, if he does make the 53. But if he is better than Harvin, it might be worth it.
Players Deleted: N/A
Notes And Draft Outlook:
I honestly just wanted to write ‘God no’ and run away. But I can’t do that. For the couple hundred people reading this, you know I can’t do that. I don’t think the Steelers will draft a specialist, and I don’t think they should, but we can’t entirely rule it out.
After all, they’ve already brought in competition for Harvin, recognizing there’s room for improvement. Boswell is coming off a down year. While getting out of his contract wouldn’t be simple, if they identify a kicker they covet, we can’t rule out the possibility of them making a move in the seventh round.
Then again, we’ve taken a look at two kickers this year, Jack Podlesny and B.T. Potter, and given undrafted grades for both of them. Of course, Danny Smith could have other ideas. I worry about what ideas are in his head…