Steelers offseason agenda

Big changes in store for next season.


Steelers defense getting an interception in the opposing teams end zone.

Joe Fitzgerald, Writer and editor

Steelers off-season agenda 

The long storied franchise that is the Pittsburgh Steelers is going through major changes. From their Hall of Fame Quarterback of 18 years retiring, too many staff changes and roster needs, the black and gold have a lot of things to address this offseason. Free agency is starting to heat up and the draft is just around the corner so  I think its time we discuss where this team is at and what it needs.

Quarterback Controversy

Probably the biggest question floating in Steelers fans minds is what will be the Qb situation for the future. For 18 years Steelers fans have had the luxury of having one of the best signal callers of this generation in Ben Roethlisberger, and now the harsh reality is that the spot needs to be filled. First and foremost something that needs to be done is taking Mason Rudolph out of the equation. He has had many opportunities to show what he can do, and unfortunately all he’s shown is that he can be a serviceable backup at best. From here I believe the Steelers should draft a QB. Preferably Malik Willis, Willis put up video game-like numbers at Liberty and has an electric dual threat playing style that fits perfectly with the modern NFL. Even if somehow Willis couldn’t fall to us there’s multiple other QBs that I’d like to have such as Sam Howell, Kenny Pickett, and Matt Corral just to name a few. Whoever we would end up drafting  would be most likely the long term guy, however I still believe we should give Dwayne Haskins a shot. It’s a low risk high reward situation, rookie quarterbacks usually never start right away, so why not while the rookie develops let Dwayne Haskins get a few starts. I mean we know Haskins has the talent, his biggest problem was character issues. He was a first round pick and was a stud for Ohio State where as a Sophomore he threw 50 touchdowns. Let’s at least see what he can do. Worst case scenario he doesn’t perform well and he goes back to being a backup. Best case scenario he plays well and shows the superstar potential he’s always had, and we have two good quarterbacks which would be a good problem to have. The other direction the Steelers could go here is to sign a free agent, for example Jimmy Garoppolo or Mitch Trubisky. Honestly The bottom line is the Steelers have a big decision to make this year at the Quarterback position and could go in multiple different directions. Let’s just hope we find one that can perform at a high level for a long time just like Big Ben.

Offensive Line Overdrive

One thing that was clear in 2021 was that Najee Harris has serious potential but he can only be so good behind a terrible offensive line. In 2021 on the line the Steelers were a mess. Perhaps of the bigger disappointments was Tackle Zach Banner, this past offseason he signed a two year 9.77 million dollar contract and was expected to come in and make a big impact. Unfortunately Banner didn’t just not meet expectations, he didn’t even start. For someone who got paid this off-season to not even be good enough to play on one of the worst Offensive lines is very concerning. Another member that was disappointing was center Kendrick Green. The third round pick out of Illinois struggled significantly especially towards the end of the season where he was benched for J.C. Hassenauer. 2nd year guard Kevin Dotson who showed a lot of good flashes in his rookie season also regressed. Trai Turner and Chukuma Okorafor were arguably two of the more solid options on the abysmal Offensive line and unfortunately they’re both unrestricted free agents so it would be great to have them back.  Another thing that would help this problem immensely would be signing James Daniels in free agency. Daniels has been a bright spot for the Bears and shows a lot of promise with his versatility. Daniels can bounce around between Center and Guard and do both well which would be ideal for the Steelers. Perhaps the best part about him is that he isn’t a huge name guy so he shouldn’t be that expensive. Something that should help Steelers’ problem up front is experience, the Steelers had one of the youngest offensive line units in the league so getting more time to play together should help. Overall drafting Najee Harris is awesome but it’s almost like buying a Lamborghini with a weak engine. It’s a great investment but it can only do so much without truly putting it in the best situation to succeed. 

Receiver revive?

Many people are speculating that we’ve seen the last of JuJu in a black and gold uniform. This very well is the case because he most likely will seek a bigger contract that the Steelers can’t afford. Juju struggled when he was forced to be the main guy, as he only had 1 100 yard receiving game without Antonio Brown compared to the 11 he had with him. It’s clear that when Brown left and most of the attention shifted to Juju he couldn’t produce like a Wide Receiver one. Fortunately we still have Dionte Johnson and Chase Claypool but we could certainly still use some help. Kevin Colbert has always had a knack for finding talented receivers in later rounds, from Mike Wallace to Antonio Brown Colbert consistently finds elite pass catchers on day 2 of the draft. Colbert also recently revealed that after the draft he plans on retiring, so what better way to leave then giving us one final going away gift of a late round stud at a position we need.

Blame it on Bush?

In 2021 people expected Devin Bush to come back right back and be the same sideline to sideline playmaker we saw in his rookie season. However it was evident that he had some rust to work off especially early on. I don’t think all the panicking is necessary because he did suffer a severe knee injury and towards the end of the season he did gradually show improvement. Bottom line is the fans who say that Bush is already a bust and we should give up on him are just unrealistic. We traded up for this guy and he was playing at a high level up until his injury. He should at least get one more season. The Bush slander is well deserved to a certain degree but just like most other things Steelers fans take it to another level. We’re so quick to forget how in his rookie season we were praising him and saying how he was the next Ryan Shazier. Similar to how when the Steelers lose one game fans pull the classic rant on facebook about how we should fire Tomlin even though he’s one of the most successful coaches in league history. 

Secondary sore spots

The Back end of the Steelers defense was definitely shaky in 2021. The losses of Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson both proved to be significant. The best member of the secondary is stud safety Minkah Fitzpatrick who fortunately we have signed through this year, but it would also be nice to just extend him now because his contract is up after this season. Terell Edmunds, our other safety, is an unrestricted free agent and I think we should let him walk. Edmunds has underperformed especially for being a first round pick and despite showing a little bit of improvement in 2021, it still shouldn’t have been  enough to get him another contract. Plus this would open up a spot for 5th year safety Marcus Allen. Allen has never really gotten a true shot in my opinion, he’s worked in a little bit as a Middle Linebacker just to add depth when needed and he actually was solid considering that’s not even his natural position but I feel like he can really make an impact as a strong safety. Veteran Joe Haden was a good option at corner,  but he most likely won’t be returning as he, similar to JuJu, wants a contract that we probably can’t give him. Besides Haden the Steelers are extremely thin at corner. Cam Sutton is good but he has proved he is only really effective as a slot corner. Ahkello Witherspoon was a corner that made the most of his opportunity when he got a shot, he’s another free agent but I fully expect him to be back in a Black and Gold uniform considering he’s been around the league and Pittsburgh is really the only place he’s flourished. I think Tre Norwood is also going to be one of our main corners. He was a 7th round pick from Oklahoma but in his rookie season he answered the bell when called upon. I also wouldn’t be surprised if we draft a corner just to get another one in the mix. Overall on paper the Steelers secondary isn’t very promising but I think they have the potential to actually be one of the better units in the league as crazy as it sounds.