With the 2023 NFL Draft now less than a week away, the bulk of the free agency signing period is now pretty much over with. While a few unsigned unrestricted free agents might sign deals before the start of the draft on Thursday night, that list of players is likely to be short. As of right now, the Pittsburgh Steelers have several of their own unrestricted free agents still looking for contracts and below is the list.
FB Derek Watt – Watt is sure to find a home this offseason but that might not come until after the draft. At this point of his career, he’s an occasional fullback option and core special teams player. While there is a small chance that Watt re-signs with the Steelers after the draft, if he does, it would likely be a one-year contract for the minimum and possibly without a signing bonus being included. Quite honestly, he might be able to find a slightly better deal with another team after the draft.
DE Chris Wormley – Wormley remaining unsigned right now isn’t a huge surprise as the veteran defensive lineman is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered late last season. The chances of Wormley ultimately re-signing with the Steelers later in the summer took a few hits these last several weeks as the team has added a few outside unrestricted free agent defensive linemen in the form of Armon Watts and Breiden Fehoko. Additionally, the Steelers might select yet another defensive lineman during the 2023 NFL Draft.
WR Miles Boykin – Boykin is sort of in a similar situation as Watt is right now. His main value moving forward is a special teamer and part-time player on offense. The Steelers recently traded for veteran wide receiver Allen Robinson II, and he enters a position group room that is fairly full right now. Additionally, the Steelers might add yet another wide receiver during the upcoming draft and possibly even one with some special teams ability. In short, a Boykin return to Pittsburgh isn’t likely to happen at this point. If it does, it would obviously be for the NFL minimum, something he can probably get from a few other teams as well.
RB Benny Snell Jr. – If there’s one player on this list that still has a decent chance of re-signing with the Steelers after the draft, it’s probably Snell. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is likely still a big fan of Snell’s overall as the former draft pick is a hard-nosed, high-effort backup player that can play on special teams. Even so, a Snell return to Pittsburgh would likely require him to sign for the NFL minimum for his credited seasons. How the draft plays out with other teams and the running back position might set up Snell to at least compete for a primary backup spot elsewhere.
DT Tyson Alualu – Does Alualu have one more season left in him? I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Personally, I expected the former first round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars to announce his retirement by now, but that has yet to happen. It’s hard to imagine Alualu returning to Pittsburgh after the draft and even on a one-year deal for the minimum. In short, if Alualu is ultimately signed after the draft concludes, I expect him to land with a new team.
QB Mason Rudolph – It’s hard to know for sure if Rudolph has had any interest from other teams at this point. If he has, any offers he may have received obviously haven’t been good enough. It’s likely in his best interest to keep his options open, not only until after the draft has concluded, but later into the summer as well. Perhaps an injury in a quarterback room around the league might help Rudolph’s cause. In the meantime, however, it would be quite shocking to see Rudolph re-sign with the Steelers as I believe he’s ready to try another NFL city at this point.
ILB Marcus Allen – Allen is yet another unsigned unrestricted free agent player that has one foot still in the league thanks to his special teams ability. However, much like Wormley, Allen is likely still rehabbing from a 2022 injury that happened later in the season. Allen will likely sign a one-year deal with a team for the minimum after the draft is over with, but that team isn’t likely to be the Steelers. Wherever Allen lands, he’ll have a lot of work ahead of him to be on a 53-man roster come Week 1 of the 2023 regular season.
S Karl Joseph – While Joseph is still only 29 years of age, he firmly has one foot out of the league at this point with the other one close to joining it. An ankle injury prevented Joseph from playing last season and that won’t help his cause this summer. Like most everyone else on this list, Joseph is likely only to get a minimum salary offer from a team after the draft has come and gone.
G Jesse Davis – While Davis is a versatile offensive lineman, he’s merely a backup at this point and a fringe one at that. Davis was active for all 17 games last season as a member of the Steelers but failed to log even one offensive snap for the first time in his NFL career. In total, Davis logged 58 snaps on special teams in 2022 and that was it. I think Davis will find a team to sign him for the minimum after the draft concludes and then he’ll have his work cut out when it comes to sticking past the end of August.