It may have been the busiest offseason in franchise history, but as per usual with moves that the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to make in free agency, things largely flew under the radar throughout the offseason for the Black and Gold.
At least, that’s the belief for The Ringer’s Sheil Kapadia.
In an article Monday morning highlighting what the media learned about every AFC team in the 2023 NFL offseason, Kapadia stated that he believes the Steelers quietly put together an “underrated offseason” in the first full offseason under new GM Omar Khan, who took over in May 2022 for the retiring Kevin Colbert.
“The Steelers’ offseason focus was clearly on upgrading their offensive line. They moved up in the first round to draft left tackle Broderick Jones, and they signed guard Isaac Seumalo to a reasonable deal in free agency,” Kapadia writes highlighting the Steelers’ offseason. “Pittsburgh is deeper up front than it has been in a while. Diontae Johnson and George Pickens are fine options at wide receiver, and we’ll see if Allen Robinson II has anything left as a third option.
“Defensively, the Steelers should have a formidable pass rush. In the secondary, they’re hoping that cornerback Patrick Peterson still has something left or that Joey Porter Jr. can step in and play well as a rookie.”
The Steelers were quite aggressive and calculated in free agency, inking the likes of Patrick Peterson to replace Cameron Sutton, who signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency. Pittsburgh also reshaped its inside linebacker room, cutting loose Myles Jack and letting Devin Bush and Robert Spillane walk, before then adding Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts in free agency.
Khan and Co. also swapped out Terrell Edmunds at safety with Keanu Neal, and added Nate Herbig and Isaac Seumalo in free agency to shore up the interior offensive line, not to mention re-signing Larry Ogunjobi and adding depth pieces in Breiden Fehoko and Armon Watts along the defensive line.
That was all done in free agency. Once the 2023 NFL Draft kicked off, the Steelers continued a strong offseason as Khan and assistant GM Andy Weidl helped put together a remarkably strong draft class overall as the Steelers landed Broderick Jones, Joey Porter Jr., Keeanu Benton, Darnell Washington and Nick Herbig, along with Cory Trice Jr. and Spencer Anderson, plugging serious holes on the roster while landing a number of high-upside prospects.
Pittsburgh’s draft class — the first under Khan and Weidl’s direction — earned significant praise in the days and week since, putting the Steelers in a rather strong position ahead of minicamp and training camp before the start of the 2023 season.
“Mike Tomlin avoided a losing record for the 16th straight season in 2022, and the Steelers roster got better this offseason. They might not have a high ceiling, but this looks like a competitive group that should be in the mix for a playoff spot,” Kapadia added.
The Steelers certainly look like they got better. If second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett can take another step forward in 2023, offensive coordinator Matt Canada figures out what works best offensively in his third season in charge of the offense and overall health is on the Steelers’ side this upcoming season, there’s no reason — at least right now — that the Steelers shouldn’t be competing for not only a playoff spot in a loaded AFC but also for the AFC North crown once again.