Pittsburgh Steelers: 3 early free agent targets for the 2022 NFL offseason
For the first time since 2004, the Pittsburgh Steelers are entering the NFL offseason without an answer at the quarterback position. With Ben Roethlisberger retiring and just Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins on the roster, Pittsburgh will need to figure out their future at the QB position and they had better do it in a hurry. Their AFC North Rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, and Baltimore Ravens have their quarterbacks set for the next decade and the Steelers risk falling behind them in the divisional pecking order.
While The Steelers will probably not be able to find their quarterback in 2022 free agency, they can at least use their estimated $34 million in cap space (11th most in the league) on upgrades around the next QB. Here are three players that will fit in seamlessly in Pittsburgh as they try to ring in the next age of Steelers football, post Big-Ben.
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Steelers Free Agent Targets for 2022 NFL Offseason
3. Akiem Hicks
The Steelers have plenty of question marks along their defensive line when you get past Cameron Heyward. Stephon Tuitt is coming off of injury, Tyson Alualu is a free agent, and Chris Wormley needs to prove that last season was not just a one-off. Adding a player of Hicks’ caliber could take the Steelers from one of the league’s worst run defenses in 2021 to one of the league’s best. In his time with the Chicago Bears, Hicks has shown by starring next to Khalil Mack that he can play great next to stud edge rushers–something the Steelers need with Watt in town–and also brings some much-needed size to the front with his 6-4, 335-pound frame.
Akiem Hicks is a bad man.
Long-arm/bull rushes the guard all the way into Kirk Cousins.
Absurd power. pic.twitter.com/i5QNBh1ttf
— Gavino Borquez (@GavinoBorquez) January 21, 2022
2. Ryan Jensen
With the Steelers using their cap space in this scenario on three players instead of bringing in just one veteran quarterback, they must upgrade the positions around the quarterback. This is because if they go down this route that means that they will most likely be going with Rudolph, Haskins, a rookie, or any combination of them for the 2022 season. That is where Jensen comes in, as possibly the best available interior offensive lineman in the 2022 NFL offseason. Since coming to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018, Jensen has played every offensive snap for his team and also brings a much-needed championship pedigree to the Steelers.
.@sinjen66 is living the dream. 🎙️
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) January 19, 2022
1. Terron Armstead
Offensive tackle is the biggest need for the Steelers, so we went with Armstead here considering he might be the best player to hit the market…period.
With Davante Adams staring down a likely franchise tag, Armstead might be hitting the market as the most sought-after free agent in the league. The Saints can franchise tag Armstead and force him to either play the year on a one-year deal or force him back to the negotiation table, but that seemed unlikely for two reasons. One, the Saints do not have the cap space in 2022 or long-term to sign Armstead; and two, the team just signed right tackle Ryan Ramszyk to a huge deal last year, so it would be trying up a huge portion of their salary cap to just two linemen. In steps the Steelers as the perfect landing spot for the Saints star that is looking to cash in on his second mega-contract.