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The Steelers Now Have 25 Players (Yes, 25) Testing Free Agency Next Season

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The Steelers Now Have 25 Players (Yes, 25) Testing Free Agency Next Season

Next season might be a ways away, but there is some concern about the amount of Steelers players that will be testing free agency a year from now.

With the addition of former Bengals DT Larry Ogunjobi on Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers now have 25 (25!) players testing free agency next season, and they aren’t all just practice squad players. The list is below:

Larry Ogunjobi
Cameron Sutton
Ulysees Gilbert III
Zach Gentry
Benjamin Snell Jr.
Miles Boykin
Justin Layne
Trenton Scott
Chaz Green
Karl Joseph
Trey Edmunds
Anthony Miller
Diontae Johnson
Damontae Kazee
Genard Avery
Joe Haeg
Robert Spillane
Terrell Edmunds
Marcus Allen
Tyson Alualu
Derek Watt
Chris Boswell
Chris Wormley
Devin Bush
Mason Rudolph

On top of those unrestricted free agents the team has 7 more restricted free agents that will be in line for a raise if they receive a tender offer. The current minimum tender offer is around 2.4 million this offseason. It will go up next year.

Henry Mondeaux
Derrek Tuszka
Kevin Rader
J.C. Hassenauer
Tuzar Skipper
Steven Sims
Jace Sternberger

Chris Boswell is a Pro Bowler. Diontae Johnson is one of the top 20 receivers in the league. Devin Bush and Cam Sutton have logged significant playing time for the Steelers the last few seasons. Derek Watt is one of the best special teamers in the league and looks to have a more significant role in the offense this season. Tyson Alualu and Chris Wormley have both resurrected their careers in Pittsburgh these last five seasons and have also played big roles. Terrell Edmunds has started 60 games since being drafted in the first round by the team.

free agent, Chris Boswell

PITTSBURGH, PA – JANUARY 03: Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Chris Boswell (9) kicks a 30 yard field goal in the third quarter during the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns on January 03, 2022 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

These are guys that have been significant contributors for the Steelers, so it definitely adds some worry about where the team is heading post 2022. What should the team do about some of these big name players? They can’t just let everyone leave, or else they’d be left with 23 players on the roster.

Here are a few of the players and what I think the Steelers should do with them going forward:

Diontae Johnson

Diontae Johnson is at the forefront of contract news surrounding players in the league right now, as he is looking to be extended off of his rookie contract along with other receivers in his class. These players include DK MetcalfTerry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel, and more. It is unclear how much the receiver is wanting to be paid or where him and the Steelers stand on contract negotiations at this time, but it is known he wants a new contract after not attending parts of OTAs.

Johnson became a first-time Pro Bowler last season and was an AP All-Pro Punt Returner in his rookie season. With the Steelers success in drafting and developing elite receiving talents mixed with the fact that they barely bring back receivers after their rookie contracts (except for Hines Ward and Antonio Brown), I expect Johnson to walk next season and get his money elsewhere.

Steelers Diontae Johnson Minkah Fitzpatrick

Steelers Camp, August 2020, Diontae Johnson (#18) cataches a pass over Minkah Fitzpatrick (#39). | Steelers.com

 

Devin Bush

Devin Bush is one of the players catching the most scrutiny about his contract and where he will be next season. The Steelers decided to not pick up his fifth-year option on his first round rookie contract for next season, letting him test free agency when the season ends. Bush has not been what the team or fans have expected of him, and has even been under fire by former Steelers greats on his play.

During his rookie season, he looked like Pittsburgh’s next elite second-level defender but has lost a lot of that over the last few seasons. On top of a torn ACL in 2020 and him not looking like himself last season, this is a make or break year for Bush’s Steelers career this season. With the uncertainty that there will be a playmaking ILB in next year’s draft, the Steelers should be able to bring back Bush on a bargain contract even if he steps up this season.

 

Cameron Sutton

Sutton started 16 of 17 games last season and logged 1,000 snaps for the first time in his career after just combining for 8 starts in his first four years combined. He took on a much larger role at outside corner, but did not do well enough to cement a spot on the outside for this upcoming season. But, his play at slot corner is among some of the best at his position since he came into the league in 2017. With the lack of solid corners the Steelers have, I could see the team bringing him back on a low-budget 1-2 year “prove-it” deal and reassessing then.

Cameron sutton, free agency

Inglewood, CA, Sunday, November 21, 2021 – Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton (20) intercepts a ball batted in the air by teammate Cam Heyward, giving the Steelers the ball late in the game at SoFi Stadium. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

 

Terrell Edmunds

The Steelers let Terrell Edmunds test free agency this off-season, but the market dried up for a player of his caliber. Edmunds probably landed in the best position possible after re-signing with the Steelers, as he will start again this season and try to capitalize off of a “prove-it” contract in a place where he already knows play designs and schemes. He will look to earn a starting safety’s contract after this season, but I do not think it will be in Pittsburgh.

 

What do you think, #SteelerNation? Are you concerned about the amount of players and contracts the Steelers will have to deal with next off-season? Who should they bring back, and who should they let walk? Comment below or @anthonyravasio on Twitter.

I'm Anthony "Rav" Ravasio and I'm a Pittsburgh native currently at Arizona State University studying sports journalism. I attended North Catholic High School in Cranberry and grew up cheering for these Steelers the whole way through. In my spare time, I love to spend time with friends or family, as well as grow my knowledge for sports in many different ways! Follow me on Twitter @anthonyravasio

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