A look at all of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 free agents

The NFL free agency period is upon us. As news continues to circulate during the “legal” tampering period in which teams are now able to speak with soon-to-be free agents – who are eligible to start signing officially come March 15th – we thought it would be helpful to know which of the 2022 Steelers are headed down that path.

Here’s a look at the Steelers impending free agents, along with some other information and notes as to their current status and probability they may return to Pittsburgh.

Note: UFA = Unrestricted Free Agent. RFA = Restricted Free Agent. Bylines are structured as Position/Status/Age/APY (Current Average Salary Per Year)

Larry Ogunjobi (DL / UFA / 29 / $8,000,000)

16-game starter in 2022 had 1.5 sacks, 7 tackles-for-loss, and 11 QB hits. Came to the Steelers after failing a big-money contract physical with the Chicago Bears in the offseason. This allowed the Steelers to sign him for a reduced rate.

With previous year’s retirement of Stephon Tuitt, the Steelers will continue seeking the bookend opposite of Cameron Heyward on the defensive line, making Ogunjobi’s return likely if the price is right.

Mason Rudolph (QB / UFA / 28 / $4,985,199)

Drafted in 2018 by the Steelers, never caught on despite being the starter in Ben Roethlisberger’s absence during most of 2019. Had promising spot starts in subsequent seasons, but did not see on-field action in 2022 with additions of Mitchell Trubisky and Kenny Pickett to the roster.

Unless Trubisky, who is under contract through 2023, moves on, there’s little reason to believe Rudolph returns to Pittsburgh. Even if Trubisky is released or traded, there’s still an unlikely chance, given the way the quarterback competition for the 2022 starting job went, that Rudolph would want to remain on this roster, instead opting for other opportunities at this stage of his career.

Devin Bush (LB / UFA / 25 / $4,717,942)

Former tenth-overall pick in 2019 was destined to replace Ryan Shazier, but injuries derailed a once promising career to where Bush will join a crowded inside linebacker free agent class.

Bush is considered all but gone, having lost a majority of last season’s reps to backup Robert Spillane. An Edmunds-like return on a deal lesser than his fifth-year option pays is possible, but unlikely given his lack of playing time as the season came to a close.

Chris Wormley (DL / UFA / 30 / $4,500,000)

A savvy player acquired via a trade with the Ravens several years ago, Wormley re-signed in 2021 with the Steelers, starting 14 games after Tuitt failed to see the field.

He would land on IR to finish 2022, and has largely been a rotational player or backup in his time with the Steelers. One would think the team moves on with younger options such as DeMarvin Leal and Isaiahh Loudermilk.

Cameron Sutton (CB / UFA / 28 / $4,500,000)

Thought to be the crown jewel of the Steelers free agent class, new GM Omar Khan has stated talks with Sutton have gone well.

Perhaps one of the lowest key draft picks of recent years, Sutton can play every defensive back position on the field and is a versatile chess piece who has a command of wherever he lines up. By the time you’re reading this, he could already be re-signed to the team.

Derek Watt (FB / UFA / 31 / $3,250,000)

Utilized more last season as a fullback than the two seasons prior, Watt earns most of his paycheck as a special teams ace.

Clickbait pundits knocked him for having the highest cap hit on the Steelers offense in 2022, but that was more of a product of rookie contracts on that side of the ball along with how Watt’s deal was originally structured to avoid the salary cap drop of 2021.

He’s bad decently, but far from a top flight player. Connor Heyward was drafted as a potential replacement, but he’s not. I expect Watt to be back in a Steelers uniform for 2023.

Tyson Alualu (DL / UFA / 36 / $2,750,000)

Father Time is undefeated as Alualu returned from an injury that saw him miss almost all of the 2021 season, only to seemingly lose a step, and his job.

Terrell Edmunds (S / UFA / 26 / $2,537,500)

One year ago fans were ready to label Edmunds a bust, gladly seeing him leave Pittsburgh when the team didn’t renew his fifth-year option, unlike fellow safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. The truth in the matter is that Edmunds’ role is drastically different, which also brings about a different pay rate.

As fans recognize this heading into the 2023 offseason, Edmunds has become one of, if not their prized priority to re-sign. At his current $2.5 million per-year rate, he doesn’t break the bank.

Should Edmunds sniff around the market, the Steelers may easily match any offers he receives in the $3-4 million range. Otherwise, they may opt for a new starter next to Fitzpatrick.

Robert Spillane (LB / UFA / 28 / $2,433,000)

Another player who cuts his teeth on special teams, the bring your lunch in a pail Spillane has the classic toughness of past Steelers linebackers.

With Myles Jack and Mark Robinson the only “experienced” inside backers on the recent roster – and with Robinson barely having any experience at the position, let alone in the pros – a Spillane re-signing makes a lot of sense for the Steelers.

Malik Reed (OLB / UFA / 27 / $1,500,000)

Acquired in a trade to shore up depth concerns and help keep T.J. Watt fresh, Reed failed to do either. The Steelers will look elsewhere to fill his spot.

Damontae Kazee (S / UFA / 30 / $1,187,500)

Brought in to help run more defensive back heavy schemes, Kazee missed a significant amount of time before finally playing in Week 10 against the Saints. His presence helped turn the Steelers season around, and even at age 30, he provides valuable experience and depth to the safety group at both positions.

Expect a deal to be done.

Miles Boykin (WR / UFA / 27 / $893,732)

Claimed off of waivers after being released by the Ravens, Boykin’s impact was made more as a special teams gunner than as a receiver. Like others on this list, he could be valued for “third phase of football” prowess over that of his receiving talents, which should see him land at least a one-year deal with the Steelers as their WR room is crowded, but not with less so with 6-foot-4 athletes.

Remaining UFAs

Zach Gentry is a glaring must-sign, as the developed quarterback turned tight end has blossomed into a solid second option, and provides the size that Connor Heyward doesn’t possess. Losing Gentry leaves a large hole in the Steelers offensive schemes.

Marcus Allen penalized his way out of Pittsburgh, while the reserve linemen may find a role but are far from priority signings. Karl Joseph had the injury bug bite him for the last time, with Pittsburgh likely moving on.

Benny Snell’s time in Pittsburgh has also run out, despite showing flashes of being a capable back and a solid special teamer. As an RB3, I don’t see the team bringing him back.

Restricted Free Agents

Of this group, only McNichols won’t return. Sims, Hassenauer, and Pierre are all contributors and valued backups whom the team has some semblance of control over their contracts for this season. Therefore, all three should suit up in the Steel City for 2023.

Suggested articles from our sponsors