Steelers hit free agency with a little money, a lot of need
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (9-7-1)
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: CB Joe Haden, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, TE Eric Ebron, CB Ahkello Witherspoon, G Trai Turner, S Terrell Edmunds, LB Miles Killebrew, WR James Washington, QB Josh Dobbs, WR Ray-Ray McCloud, CB Arthur Maulet, C B.J. Finney, LB Taco Charlton, DL Montravius Adams, RB Kalen Ballage, RT Chukwuma Okorafor.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: LB Robert Spillane, QB Dwayne Haskins, LB Marcus Allen.
NEEDS: The Steelers enter free agency technically with one quarterback on the roster in Mason Rudolph, though they plan to retain Haskins after bringing him in as a reclamation project in January 2021. The offensive and defensive lines both need upgrades after the Steelers finished 29th in rushing — even with standout rookie running back Najee Harris — and dead last in the league against the run. Four of the top six in the secondary are also hitting the open market and it’s unlikely Joe Haden, who turns 33 next month, will fall into the “affordable” range. The wide receivers group is also likely facing a makeover. There’s a chance JuJu Smith-Schuster returns thanks to a depressed receiver market combined with the fact he missed most of 2021 with a shoulder injury. But Washington, who endured an enigmatic four years, is likely gone. The Steelers have more spending money than usual and could create more space by cutting veterans like linebacker Joe Schobert and defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt (who didn’t play in 2021 but whose status remains a bit of a mystery). It’s unlikely they would open the wallet too wide for what is an unimpressive free-agent quarterbacks class, though Marcus Mariota and Mitchell Trubisky do offer the kind of mobility head coach Mike Tomlin has coveted at the position.
AVAILABLE SALARY CAP SPACE (approximately): $28.8 million.
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