It was — and continues to be — the busiest off season in franchise history for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It might also end up being the best one ever, too, at least in the era of free agency.
GM Omar Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl went to work reshaping the roster in Pittsburgh and came away with quite the finished (for now) product, landing the likes cornerback Patrick Peterson, guard Isaac Seumalo, linebackers Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts, and safety Keanu Neal in free agency, while also trading for wide receiver Allen Robinson II.
Along with some strong moves in free agency, the Steelers had a remarkable draft, which helped Pittsburgh secure one the league’s highest offseason grades from Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson Friday, earning an “A” overall.
“Pittsburgh made several low-key additions in free agency that should help the team significantly from a season ago. Isaac Seumalo has earned PFF pass-blocking grades of at least 77.4 over the past three seasons, while cornerback Patrick Peterson and linebacker Cole Holcomb should both be upgrades. Adding Allen Robinson II for almost nothing in exchange is a huge low-risk, high-reward proposition,” Monson writes regarding the Steelers’ offseason.
“Pittsburgh’s draft was arguably the best in the entire league. Joey Porter Jr. was a natural fit, and they selected him in the second round, not the first, having already secured tackle Broderick Jones. Keeanu Benton should make an impact along the defensive line immediately, and as much as Darnell Washington may have always been overrated as a fringe first-round prospect at tight end, he is a steal at Pick 93 in the third round.”
It certainly wasn’t the flashiest offseason by any stretch of the imagination, though the signing of Peterson to a two-year deal certainly generated headlines. But the Steelers very clearly identified major needs and attacked them in a big, big way.
After seeing the left side of the offensive line struggle mightily at times in 2022, the Steelers addressed it quickly and efficiently, landing a high-caliber starter in Seumalo at left guard and then drafting Georgia’s Broderick Jones in the first round to address left tackle. The left side of the offensive line, at least on paper, appears rebuilt and improved on in a major way.
Inside linebacker was a real concern defensively, and the Steelers overhauled the room, letting Devin Bush and Robert Spillane walk and later cutting Myles Jack. They added Holcomb, Roberts and Tanner Muse to the room, plugging in pieces in Holcomb and Roberts that truly fit the MACK and BUCK roles.
The slot wide receiver concerns were addressed with the trade for Robinson, while cornerback was overhauled, too, with the move to ink Peterson after losing Cameron Sutton to the Detroit Lions in free agency, and then selecting Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice Jr. in the draft.
The offseason certainly puts the Steelers in a good spot entering OTAs, minicamp and training camp. We’ll see how it plays out on the field in 2023, but there’s no denying it has been a very good offseason in the Steel City, one that could help Pittsburgh get back to contention rather quickly.