The 2023 offseason is the first in which the Pittsburgh Steelers have had a new front office in place in more than two decades. Last year’s free agency period and draft process was still led by former general manager Kevin Colbert, even if Omar Khan was in the general manager chair shortly after.
One would think given these circumstances, and the great amount of turnover and promotions that took place in the front office, that the Steelers might have a good deal of turnover on their roster. Well, while some positions more than others might give that impression, from a global perspective, that hasn’t been the case.
In a recent power rankings article, Pro Football Focus shared a graphic listing teams by the percentage of player retention from last season. The Steelers had the eighth-highest rate of retention in the league, coming in at what looks to be about 85 percent or so. The graphic is broken into eight, and the Steelers are just beyond the seventh line.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at the linebacker rooms. Gone from last season are Myles Jack, Devin Bush, Robert Spillane, Marcus Allen, Malik Reed, and Jamir Jones. That’s six players right there—which accounts for more than 10 percent of the 53-man roster, so I’m frankly not sure how that makes sense. Allen, however, ended the year on the Reserve/Injured List, replaced by Tae Crowder, who is still here.
Also gone are quarterback Mason Rudolph, running back Benny Snell Jr., fullback Derek Watt, offensive linemen Trent Scott and Jesse Davis, defensive lineman Tyson Alualu, and safety Terrell Edmunds. I may even be missing one or two. But that alone is 12 players who ended the season on the 53-man roster (Chris Wormley was on the Reserve/Injured List as well) who are no longer here, though some are still unsigned free agents. (Arthur Maulet’s release came after the graphic in question was published so obviously didn’t take it into account.)
I’m going to be honest in saying that I’m not clear on how this data was assembled. If PFF was measuring it based on how many players from the 53-man roster at the end of last season are still here, then the Steelers’ numbers are definitely not correct.
I would love to get an explanation of this graphic and how it makes sense, if it makes sense, because I’m struggling to come up with a valid measurement by which the Steelers have retained 85 percent of their players from last season. Perhaps it involves the practice squad and/or the Reserve/Injured List.
One would hope that the outlet uses the same method to determine the rate of retention of every roster. So as long as everything is done the same way, it should still mean that the Steelers retained the eighth-highest number of players from a year ago. Which is more than you might think following a year of so much change. But we’ll see what the roster retention rate looks like after the 53-man roster is set.