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A level-headed news-discussion site with a sense of history and community 2023-03-23T15:00:00-04:00
Updated: 15 min 40 sec ago

The Steelers used the first week of free agency to become a more physical team

Tue, 03/21/2023 - 8:30am
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

It’s only been one week of free agency, but the Steelers are making their objective with the team very clear.

A look at the moves the Steelers made in free agency last week tells an intriguing story about the team they may field next season.

They brought in cornerback Patrick Peterson, guards Nate Herbig and Isaac Seumalo and linebackers Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts. They also re-signed safety Damontae Kazee and defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi.

Meanwhile, corner Cam Sutton left for Detroit, linebackers Robert Spillane (Vegas) and Devin Bush (Seattle) departed, and edge rusher Malik Reed signed with Miami. William Jackson III and Myles Jack were cut for salary cap purposes. And Minkah Fitzpatrick’s contract was restructured. All told, the Steelers shed around $30 million in cap space while adding about $30 million in new signings.

To quote the great Larry David: Pretty good, Mr. Khan. Pretty, pretty, good.

The swap of Sutton for Peterson is interesting for two reasons. Sutton is six years younger, and Peterson is a big name. Traditionally, the Steelers like to invest in younger players in free agency, and tend to stay away from former stars on the back ends of their career. But Sutton was expensive, and Peterson came at a reasonable price, and from a football standpoint the two should be comparable, at least for 2023. That made it a sensible move from Khan’s perspective, especially with a deep pool of cornerback talent in the upcoming draft.

The loss of Reed was expected and comes without much consequence. The loss of Jackson isn’t a loss at all, considering he never played a down for the Steelers yet carried a huge cap hit.

Which brings us to the signings of Herbig, Seumalo, Holcomb and Roberts, and the re-signings of Ogunjobi and Kazee. Practically speaking, they all strengthen areas of weakness and free the Steelers to draft for want instead of for need. Pittsburgh could still opt for a corner at pick #17 and a linebacker at #32. But they don’t have to. Perhaps there will be an offensive tackle in one of those spots they like better. Or a wide receiver. Or a defensive lineman. They now have options.

On the other hand, these signings signal an intention to become more physical in some way, and provide a window into the type of team the Steelers are creating.

Take the inside linebacker position. Holcomb and Roberts are both throwback players. They play hard-nosed football, which means they get downhill and tackle. Holcomb is the more athletic of the two and will likely upgrade the versatile Mack position Bush manned last season. Bush was never the same player after the knee injury that cut short his sophomore season in 2020. His mobility was compromised, which limited his effectiveness. He couldn’t run sideline-to-sideline anymore, or change direction quickly, or stay with tight ends in coverage. And he seemed to lose his willingness to plug gaps and mix it up in the trenches. Too often, Bush tried to run around blocks rather than play through them. Holcomb will assert himself more willingly, while providing better pass coverage.

Holcomb does come with a lingering injury of his own. He hurt his foot last season, causing him to miss ten games. But the Steelers felt confident enough about it to give him a 3-year, $18 million deal. A healthy Holcomb will mix Spillane’s physicality with better athleticism. He has superior lateral movement, and his motor is everything one could expect from an NFL linebacker. Holcomb also wore the green dot in Washington, which speaks highly of his football IQ and leadership qualities.

In many ways, Holcomb is the antithesis of Bush. He was a walk-on at North Carolina and a late-round pick who has been a classic overachiever. Bush, the son of a former NFL player who was highly recruited out of high school and the #10 overall pick in the 2019 draft, projected the opposite at times. When asked at training camp last July whether he felt 2022 was a make-or-break year for him, Bush responded, “Like as a Steeler? I mean, it’s a business. I’ll still be in the NFL, so we’ll see.” Bush’s play seemed to mirror that attitude at times. Holcomb, who has had to fight and claw for every opportunity as both a college and professional player, projects intensity, not indifference.

Roberts will be different from Jack, too, particularly in terms of his physical play. Jack had a decent 2022 for the Steelers, recording 104 tackles in 15 games. But he was miscast as the Buck linebacker, which requires a true gap-stuffer in the Vince Williams mold. Jack was more of a Mack, and the pairing of him with Bush was never a natural fit. Neither was an accomplished strong side player, leaving the Steelers scrambling at times to fit the run adequately from the second level. Pittsburgh could have slid Jack to the Mack and found a banger to pair him with at the Buck. But his $8 million salary didn’t justify his play on the field, or trying to reconfigure the linebacking corps around him. So, the Steelers took the cap savings and moved on.

Enter Roberts, who was drafted in 2016 by a New England organization that loves its Buck linebackers. From Ted Johnson to Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes and Dont’a Hightower, Bill Belichick’s defenses almost always feature a hammer in the middle who can stop the run. Roberts started 33 games in four years in New England before following former Patriots coach Brian Flores to Miami. There, he started 43 of the 47 games for which he was active, recording 107 tackles this past season. Roberts is not a superior athlete and will most likely come off the field on 3rd downs. But he gets downhill at the snap like it’s his raison d’etre. The manner in which Holcomb and Roberts approach the position, and the physicality they bring, will make the Steelers much different at inside backer than they’ve been the past few seasons.

The return of Kazee and Ogunjobi make the defense more physical in their own ways. Kazee’s ability to play the deep middle against the pass frees the Steelers up to run more Cover-1 and Cover-3 schemes, where they can add a safety to the box or get aggressive with the blitz. This means Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds — provided he returns — can play closer to the line of scrimmage, where they can both create havoc.

Ogunjobi helps to solidify the middle of a defensive front that, when he was healthy last season, was difficult to run against. Ogunjobi didn’t really recover from the foot injury he suffered in 2021 until after Pittsburgh’s bye in week nine. Prior to that, the Steelers yielded an average of 118 rushing yards per game. After the bye, when a healthy Ogunjobi teamed with Cam Heyward to provide a formidable duo at defensive tackle, that number fell to 98.

The signings of Holcomb and Roberts and re-signings of Kazee and Ogunjobi signal a clear mandate for the defense: stop the run on early downs and create situations where the Steelers can unleash their pass rush and get creative with their talented secondary.

Their moves on offense fit the same theme. Herbig, who is massive at 6’4-345, is a guard in the Ramon Foster/Chris Kemoeatu mold. Don’t expect him to pull on power and sweep plays or to excel at climbing and blocking linebackers in space. But as a people-mover who can push defensive tackles off the ball, Herbig is a force.

Seumalu started all 20 games in Philadelphia’s Super Bowl run last season, and has started 60 games over a seven-year career. He finished in the Top 20 among all NFL guards in both run-block and pass-block win rate last year. Seumalo is also credited with helping line coach Jeff Stoutland design Philadelphia’s run game, which finished second-best in the NFL in yards per game. Anyone who paid attention to what Philly was doing on offense last season had to notice both their physicality and the creativity of their scheme. Seumalo was significant in both regards.

Pittsburgh’s run game last season became more effective as the season progressed. New line coach Pat Meyer did a nice job helping the unit to jell while reshaping both their mindset and their technique. Scheme-wise, Pittsburgh used virtually no gap runs over the second half of the season, relying almost exclusively on inside and outside zone. The zone game is built on interior double teams designed to displace defensive tackles. If Pittsburgh wants to continue in that fashion, Herbig and Seumalo — both of whom have history with assistant general manager Andy Weidl, by the way — are excellent additions. But, with Seumalo’s experience and ability, there is room to expand the scheme if the Steelers want to get back to running power, counter and sweep.

Seumalo didn’t leave his job as a starter in Philly to be a backup in Pittsburgh. Expect him to replace Kevin Dotson at left guard. Herbig will likely be the swing guard who backs up Seumalo and James Daniels. Herbig could also start if necessary. It’s hard to say where all of this leaves Dotson, but at the moment he looks like the odd man out. Regardless, the plan on offense appears to be coming clear: build a run game that keeps the Steelers ahead of the chains and puts Kenny Pickett in situations that minimize risk and keep the playbook open.

It was an intriguing first week of free agency for the Steelers. The front office sent a message with their signings about the type of team they desire. Expect that team to be physical up front and to build out from there.

This was discussed at length on Monday’s “Let’s Ride” podcast. Be sure to check it out in the player below:

March Madness of Steelers Moments: SWEET 16

Tue, 03/21/2023 - 7:15am
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This round could end Polamalu’s Cinderella story

It’s week 3 of Steelers March Madness. We’ve made it to our Sweet 16.


1 - The Immaculate Reception - 12/23/72 AFC Divisional Round

Tourney recap: Won its 1st round match with 94.7% of the twitter vote & 93% of website vote. Won its 2nd round match with 98% of the vote.

The Play: Nuff Said

Not Vikings, but a piece of NFL History here. With Franco Harris passing, we wanted to show you the 4k enhanced coaches film of the Immaculate Reception. Did the ball hit off Jack Tatum (required then for Franco to catch it)? Did Franco catch the ball B4 it hit the ground?

— VikeFans (@VikeFans) December 28, 2022


5 - JT Thomas Picks Off Stabler - 12/29/74 AFC Championship

Tourney recap: This play reveals the fanbase’s generational divide more than anything else. In round one, the younger twitter demographic favored O’Donnel to Slash in the ‘95 AFCC. But website votes gave Thomas the advantage. It was the same story in round two, with twitter favoring Holmes’ leaning TD from ‘08.

The play: After going down 10-3 in the 3rd quarter, Pittsburgh fought back to claim a 17-13 lead in the fourth. Stabler had a chance to for a go-ahead touchdown, but future Applebee’s mogul JT Thomas made a clutch interception and returned the ball 37 yards to the Raiders 24 to seal the trip to Super Bowl 9.

12/29/74 AFC Championship: Pit@Oak
1:10 left. Steelers lead 17-13

J.T. Thomas ends it, sending the Steelers to their first ever Super Bowl

— Steel City Star (@steelcitystar) August 23, 2018

Bonus Commentary: The further we get into this tournament, the more passionate I’m feeling about the Immaculate Reception. Steelers Nation knows the standard is Super Bowls, and the ‘72 season and this play did not lead to a Lombardi.

3 - “The Tackle” - 1/15/06 AFC Divisional

Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 91% of the website vote and 87% of the twitter vote. Won round 2 with 94% of the vote.

The play: A shoestring tackle that saved the entire season. One of Ben’s greatest plays is one of the ugliest.

17 years ago today during the AFC Divisional playoff game at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Jerome Bettis fumbled on the Colts 2 yard line. 6'5" Ben Roethlisberger made the Immaculate Tackle on Colts DB Nick Harper with 1:11 left in the game and the Steelers won 21-18.

— Billy Hartford (@DevinBushFan) January 15, 2023


10- Ike’s Redzone INT - 2/5/06 Super Bowl 40

Tourney recap: Won with 70% of the website vote and 65.9% of the twitter vote in the 1st round. Upset AB’s Helmet Catch in the 2nd round, 55%-45%

The play: The Seahawks were down 14-10 in the fourth quarter and driving. Ike Taylor intercepted Matt Hasselbeck at the Steelers 5 to keep the four-point advantage in Super Bowl XL intact.

2️⃣4️⃣ DAYS until Steelers football.

Here’s an Ike Taylor INT from Super Bowl XL.

— Donny Football (@DonChed54) August 18, 2022

Bonus Commentary: Maybe Ben’s tackle is the best play on this bracket. That idea is wild to me, but I think that’s how it could play out.


1 - Ben to Santonio for the Win - 2/1/09 Super Bowl XLIII

Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 98% of the website vote and 91% of the twitter vote. Won round 2 with 95% of the vote.

The Play: What’s better, the catch or the throw? With 35 seconds left, the Steelers retake the lead, 27-23, after giving up 16 unanswered 4th-quarter points to the Cardinals.

On this day 14 years ago, Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes gave us one of the best finishes in Super Bowl history

— NFL on ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsNFL) February 1, 2023


4 - The Immaculate Extension - 12/25/16 Week 16

Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 93% of the website vote and 81.5% of the twitter vote. Defeated Woodson’s Wildcard forced fumble in OT, 67%-33%.

The play: Christmas Day. The Ravens had won 4 straight against Pittsburgh. 13 seconds left, down 3, winner wins the division. Ben led a 10 play, 75 yard drive in 1:08, ending with AB covered in 3 players.

The ‘Immaculate Extension’ on Christmas. #Throwback #Steelers

— That Blitz Guy (@ThatBlitzGuy) December 26, 2020

Bonus Commentary: I’d argue the Immaculate Extension is the greatest moment in Heinz Field history, but I think it’s run in this tournament is coming to an end.

2 - The Levitating Leap - 1/18/76 Super Bowl X

Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 94% of the website vote and 90.5% of the twitter vote. Beat Ben’s 3rd & 28 conversion in SBXL in round 2, 63%-37%.

The play: Lynn Swann, the MVP of Super Bowl X, with the signature play of the game. It’s one of the most acrobatic catches BP (before Pickens), tipping the ball to himself for the 53-yard reception. But ultimately led to no points.

Lynn Swann's "Levitating Leap"

The signature play of Super Bowl X,
47 years ago today. #Steelers

— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) January 18, 2023


3 - Fast Willie Takes it to the House - 2/5/06 Super Bowl XL

Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 85% of the website vote and 77.3% of the twitter vote. Defeated the Polamalu Plunge in round 2, 54%-46%.

The play: The longest TD run in Super Bowl history. It gave the Steelers a 14-3 lead in the third quarter against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.

February 5, 2006 SB XL. Steelers RB Willie Parker set a record for the longest rushing TD in SB history with this 75 yard run. HOF guard Alan Faneca made a great block on Seattle LB Leroy Hill. "Fast Willie" outran Seahawks safety Eric Pruitt and took it all the way to the house.

— Billy Hartford (@DevinBushFan) February 5, 2023

Bonus Commentary: The fact that the Levitating Leap didn’t lead to points makes me think it bows out here.


1 - Stallworth’s 73-yd TD - 1/20/80 Super Bowl XIV

Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 91% of the website vote and 95.8% of the twitter vote. Won round 2 with 88% of the vote.

The play: Stallworth outran everyone for a 73-yard touchdown that gave the Steelers a 24-19 lead in the 4th over the Rams. It is the 7th lead change in the game.

"Great teams aren't always great, they're just great when they have to be."

The 73-yard fourth quarter TD rainbow from Terry Bradshaw to John Stallworth — the #Steelers' winning score of Super Bowl XIV.

This date in 1980

— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) January 21, 2023


13 - Troy’s Strip Sack - 12/5/10 Week 13

Tourney recap: Our Sweet 16 Cinderella. This upset Jack Ham’s pick of Stabler with 74% of the website vote and 75% of the twitter vote in the first round. Then it upset the Maddox Wildcard Comeback in the 2nd round with 78% of the vote.

The play: The Division title and a 1st round bye were on the line. Baltimore was winning 10-6 and had 3 and change left on the clock. They just needed a couple first downs to end the game. With a 2nd and 5 at their own 43, Pittsburgh blitzed Timmons and Troy. Ray Rice could only pick one.

2010 Troy Polamalu Strip Sack that led to division title. 3 Minutes left on the clock and counting, all the Ravens had to do was pick up a couple first downs and this game was over. NOPE. Troy off the edge untouched. Solid game plan.

— Tone Digs (@ToneDigz) November 4, 2018

Bonus commentary: I think the Stallworth TD could win it all. 7 lead changes in a Super Bowl.

2 - Randle El’s Reverse Pass - 2/5/06 Super Bowl XL

Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 100% of the twitter vote and 89% of the website vote. Won round 2 with 85% of the vote.

The play: Willie Parker takes the pitch and hands off to Antwaan Randle El on the reverse, who throws it to Hines Ward for the 43-yd touchdown. It gives the Steelers a 21-10 lead against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.

Randel El to Ward in Super Bowl 40. Such an iconic play! #steelers

— Steelercrew (@Steelercrew6x) July 21, 2019


3 - Swann’s Flying Circus - 1/21/79 Super Bowl XIII

Tourney recap: Twitter is not big on this play. In round 1, the twitter vote was split between Swann and Ben’s gunslinger TD. Website voting gave Swann an edge with more than 60% of the ballots. Then in round 2, Bettis pancaking Urlacher got 3 more votes than this play. However, with a 17-vote edge from the website, Swann moves on.

The play: When Roy Gerela slipped at kickoff, the squibbed kick went off Randy White, who was playing with a cast. Pittsburgh recovered and then fired the game-deciding score.

One of NFL Films' most recognizable and iconic end zone shots...

Lynn Swann's 18-yard "flying circus" touchdown grab from #Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw — the winning score of Super Bowl XIII, played 44 years ago today.

— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) January 21, 2023

Bonus Commentary: I think this is a generational matchup. The era you remember more fondly will get your vote. I’m curious if anyone has a strong argument one way or another.


1 - Harrison’s Hundred-Yard INT - 2/1/09 Super Bowl XLIII

Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 95.6% of the twitter vote and 97% of the website vote. Won round two with 96% of the vote.

The play: 1st and goal at the 1 with 18 seconds left in the first half. James Harrison steps in front of Anquan Boldin and makes his way 100 yards for a touchdown. Instead of trailing at the half, the Steelers lead 17-7.

#Steelers linebacker James Harrison's coast-to-coast pick-six to end the first half of Super Bowl XLIII

The longest interception return in #SuperBowl history — 100 yards

14 years ago today

— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) February 1, 2023


4 - Stallworth’s 75-yd TD - 1/21/79 Super Bowl XIII

Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 82.6% of the twitter vote and 88% of the website vote. Won round 2 with 83% of the vote.

The play: John Stallworth’s 75-yard catch and run tied the score 14-14 in Super Bowl XIII. At the time, it was the longest scoring play in Super Bowl history.

John Stallworth, "like a blend of sipping whiskey and 'White Lightning' — smooth, with a good, strong finishing kick".

His 75-yard TD reception tied a SB record for the longest scrimmage play, and tied Super Bowl XIII at 14 all.

The #Steelers would not trail again.

OTD in 1979

— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) January 22, 2022

Bonus Commentary: Deebo has to win this bracket, right? Maybe even the whole thing?

2 - Troy’s Pick 6 - 1/18/09 AFC Championship

Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 95.2% of the twitter vote and 94% of the website vote. Defeated Lambert’s shove of Cliff Harris in the 2nd round by a 60%-40% margin.

The play: The Steelers had a 16-14 lead in the 4th, but Flacco 4:38 to drive down the field. Instead, Deebo applied the pressure, and Troy took it to the house.

Troy Polamalu's 40 yard pick six against the Ravens in the 2008 AFC Championship is one the greatest plays in Steelers franchise history. James Harrison doesn't get enough credit for pressuring Joe Flacco on this play.

— Billy Hartford (@DevinBushFan) January 19, 2023


6 - Swann Beats Double Coverage - 1/20/80 Super Bowl XIV

Tourney recap: Won round 1 with 91.3% of the twitter vote and 80% of the website vote. Upset Franco’s Super Bowl XIII TD in round two by a 57%-43% margin.

The play: Lynn Swann leaps between two defenders and completes a 47-yard touchdown catch that gives the Steelers a 17-13 lead early in the third quarter against the Rams in Super Bowl XIV.

Super Bowl XIV, OTD in 1980

Terry Bradshaw's 47-yard TD aerial to the acrobatic Lynn Swann giving #Pittsburgh a 17-13 third quarter advantage.

This is the CBS television feed with an overlay of the call by Jack Fleming and Myron Cope of the #Steelers Radio Network (WTAE, 1980).

— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) January 20, 2022

Bonus Commentary: I guess the question that’s on the horizon is will Troy’s play beat Deebo’s? Although, Troy’s play is the only one that’s not a Super Bowl moment.

Look for the Elite 8 on Friday!

Kyle Chrise is the host of the Steel Curtain Network podcast “What Yinz Talkin’ Bout.” New episodes are released every Thursday.

The Steelers have had another solid free-agent frenzy

Tue, 03/21/2023 - 6:00am
Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The Steelers haven’t blown anyone away with their 2023 free-agent activity, but they’ve been pretty solid. I’ll take that.

It was about a week ago when the NFL’s annual free-agent frenzy kicked off, beginning with the league’s legal-tampering phase on March 13th.

What would the Steelers do now that Omar Khan, and not the legendary Kevin Colbert, was running the show as the team’s general manager? Would Pittsburgh’s approach to free agency change? Would the team wow us with any big moves?

Here we are, about a week later, and both questions are easy to answer with one rather-lengthy sentence: I’m no expert on the nuanced differences between Khan and Colbert, but it doesn’t feel as if the Steelers have changed their overall style when it comes to signing players in free agency.

The Steelers’ moves have been solid, and they haven’t really wowed us.

A bit of a timeline:

Cam Sutton quickly departed at the onset of free agency; the veteran and versatile cornerback agreed to a two-year deal with the Lions.

This put everyone into panic mode (mostly on Twitter) for the entire first day of the legal-tampering phase.

However, about nine minutes into the legal-tampering phase, it was announced that Pittsburgh had agreed to a two-year deal with Patrick Peterson, the legendary cornerback, formerly of the Cardinals and Vikings.

Many free-agent dominos began to fall afterward.

Pittsburgh agreed on a two-year contract with guard Nate Herbig, formerly of the Eagles and Jets.

Not long after that deal was announced, it was reported that the Steelers had come to terms on a three-year contract with inside linebacker Cole Holcomb, formerly of the Washington Commanders. The following day, news broke that Pittsburgh had reached a deal with inside linebacker Elander Roberts, a veteran who played his first seven years with the Patriots and Dolphins, respectively.

Along with the news of the signing of Roberts came the announcement that Pittsburgh had released inside linebacker Myles Jack, a newsworthy addition from the previous season’s frenzy.

While this was all going on, the Steelers also kept some of their own, including defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi and safety Damontae Kazee, two important contributors to Pittsburgh’s defense in 2022.

It was then announced on Sunday morning that the Steelers had come to terms on a three-year contract with guard Isaac Seumalo, a 2016 third-round pick by the Eagles. Seumalo started 60 games over seven years with the Eagles and should bring great experience to the Steelers' young and evolving offensive line.

The Steelers likely aren’t done (they might have already announced another signing during the making of this article), but I’m pretty happy with their moves so far.

No, they haven’t been spectacular, but the moves have been very Steelers-like. You’re not blown away, but it’s like that lamp a fellow tenant left in the lobby that one time with a note that read: “Free.” You may not even remember what year it was when you decided to scoop that sucker up while checking your mail one day, but it sure has been clutch over the years, especially when that annoying bulb in the ceiling light often goes out.

Sure, there are questions about these new and re-signed Steelers.

For example, does Peterson, who will be 33 by the time the 2023 regular season starts, have much left in the tank? What will his contributions be to Pittsburgh’s defense? Will he play exclusively on the outside? Will he move around? Will he even play some at safety?

Will Ogunjobi overcome his recent injury issues and be the kind of presence on the defensive line that makes us finally want to move on from Stephon Tuitt and his sudden retirement?

With the signings of both Herbig and Seumalo, how much do the Steelers really hate Kevin Dotson?

Do the Steelers also secretly hate Mason Cole? After all, Seumalo can play center, as can right guard Kevin Dotson.

Will Seumalo, who has a history with injuries and is 29, remain as durable as he was in 2022?

Were the Steelers clear with their intentions when they signed Herbig, a 2019 undrafted free agent who started a combined 28 games with both the Eagles and Jets? The Steelers may have seen enough of Dotson to give him a demotion, but if they’re perfectly fine with Cole at center, Herbig seems like the odd man out in terms of starters along the interior of the line.

More questions:

Starter or not, how long before Herbig develops a cult following among Steelers fans?

I’d say by OTAs.

Has someone already made a Nate Nasty t-shirt?


Will a sandwich/cut of meat be named after Herbig?


Will Holcomb and Roberts be cut next year to make room for two more free-agent inside linebackers?

It’s likely.

Are you going to come at me for that last question-and-answer combo and also cite Holcomb’s time in the 40?


Will you remember how mean you were to me when those guys get cut next year?

Probably not.

Moving on from the questions.

Maybe you’re underwhelmed by the Steelers' free-agent activity. Perhaps you feel like beginning your assessment with “Meh.” (The most annoying way to begin an assessment on the Internet, btw.)

Fine, but you have to remember how the NFL’s free-agent system is structured.

While the best players in other professional sports leagues can say, “Screw you guys, I’m becoming a free agent,” NFL teams get to say to their best players, “Screw you, we’re slapping the franchise tag on you and preventing you from becoming a free agent.”

In other words, you’re usually not getting the best of the best when the NFL’s annual free-agent frenzy kicks off. You’re mostly getting decent starters who are looking for a raise or hopeful backups who are looking for a chance to break the glass ceiling and start for a new team.

Most NFL free-agent signings are going to come with question marks. Many won't work out.

I mean, think about it, NFL free agency has been around for 30 years, yet, people still write articles titled: “The 10 Best Free-Agent Signings in Steelers History.” And I’ll just bet the authors have a hard time coming up with a list that they’re comfortable with.

If free agency was a sure thing, there’d be fewer “The 10 Best” articles and more “The 555 Best” articles searched for on Google.

Look at it this way: If this latest haul of free-agent signings can collectively contribute to an improved Steelers team in 2023, wouldn’t that be worth it? Sure, some guys may not live up to the hype, while others may succumb to injuries and/or the constraints of the salary cap. A draft pick may also come along and blow everyone away and ruin the chances of one of these free agents having a lengthy stay in Pittsburgh.

But the Steelers will be back at it next March, trying to plug the holes and get through yet another season.

Free agency is rarely spectacular for the Steelers, but just like that lamp you found in your lobby years ago, it’s solid and still works pretty well.

It’s sometimes even clutch.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Tue, 03/21/2023 - 4:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

We here at Steel Curtain Network, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way as the Steelers set the stage for 2023. With so much going on, make sure you check out our ‘Podcast Roundup’ article to keep up with the latest podcasts that cover everything Steelers for your black-and-gold knowledge, curiosity and enjoyment.

With that being said and typed, have fun with the shows below with a brief description of each podcast.

BAD Language: Omar Khan’s great week doesn’t diminish Kevin Colbert’s legacy

With Omar Khan at the helm and Andy Weidl as his co-pilot, the way of acquiring personnel for the Pittsburgh Steelers has changed. But that doesn’t diminish what Kevin Colbert accomplished as the Steel City Football GM. So, Steel Curtain Network’s Bryan Anthony Davis decided to make no apologies and share his black-and-gold brand of enlightenment. Join BAD preaching his own gospel of the hypocycloids on his solo show, BAD Language.

  • News and Notes
  • Free Agency has drastically changed in Steeltown
  • and MUCH MORE!

Listen to the show on the player below:

Steelers Hangover: The 2023 Steelers picture is clearing up

There have been a ton of questions surrounding the 2023 Steelers, but answers have come during free agency and the picture is clearing up. Join Steel Curtain Network’s Daniel J. and Shannon White for another Steelers Hangover in the offseason before the 2023 season.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • The Steelers are shaping up for 2023
  • and MUCH MORE!

Listen to the show on the player below:

The Steelers’ Cutting Room Floor: The Steelers free agent signings point to a different plan for team building

The signings that the Steelers have made in 2023 are a plenty. This seems to signal a new era in team building in Pittsburgh. Steel Curtain Network’s Geoffrey Benedict examines this and more on the latest episode of SCN’s “The Cutting Room Floor”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • A different plan for team building
  • and MUCH MORE!

Geoffrey walks you through everything you need to know regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Listen to the show on the player below:

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE


Google Play: CLICK HERE

Nate Herbig just excited for his opportunity with the Steelers

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 2:00pm
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

One of the two offensive guards picked up by the Steelers is more than excited for his shot in Pittsburgh.

When it comes to the NFL, there are players who assume they belong, and those who are thankful they even have the opportunity. With the latter, there are no assumptions made, and the hard work which is necessary to succeed is typically evident. What it boils down to is whether or not that hard work is accompanied by an amount of talent which can equate to long-term success in the league.

When it comes to new Pittsburgh Steelers guard Nate Herbig, he would be categorized as a player who has had to earn all of what he’s gotten in the NFL, and that isn’t a lot.

Herbig was undrafted out of Stanford, leaving as a Junior, eventually signing as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles. What that has taught him was to appreciate everything this game provides.

“Man, I love football.” said Herbig when meeting with Pittsburgh media. “I love to play the game of football. I feel like football is played a certain way, and I’m going to play it that way. I’m happy to be here. Old school, smash mouth, I like that stuff. As you can see, I’m built for it. So, I’m happy to be here.

When Steelers fans see Herbig has spent time in Philadelphia, they should also know there is a natural connection to Andy Weidl. Weidl, the current Assistant General Manager (GM) had a direct result in Herbig coming to Philadelphia, and also to the Steelers. And Herbig knows it.

“Andy Weidl is the G.O.A.T. [greatest of all time], man.” Herbig exclaimed. “He’s the man. He was in Philly when I was in Philly, and we have that connection coming in a little bit. I’m just happy to be here, happy to be in the same building as him.”

When asked what he liked the most about coming to a team/organization like the Steelers, Herbig didn’t mince words.

“It’s the Steelers. Like, come on, what isn’t there about it?” Herbig said. “I don’t have enough good things to say. Guys on the team have already reached out to me. Kenny [Pickett] reached out to me. That just shows his leadership already. I’m just happy to be here. I’m happy to be a part of this team.”

Speaking of the quarterback Herbig will be helping protect, he couldn’t say enough good things about Pickett reaching out and welcoming him to the team.

“I mean, it was unbelievable.” Herbig said of his talking with Pickett the day he signed. “I had a great leader when I was in Philadelphia with Jalen Hurts, and the fact that he just reached out to me just made me have so much respect for him, but even more with how much of a leader he is, and I’m just excited to be around him and be on his team.”

When Philadelphia didn’t bring Herbig back heading into the 2022 season, Herbig was picked up by the New York Jets. While the season wasn’t a success, Herbig was able to learn from his time with the Jets.

“Just always being ready to play. It was like that for me in Philly. I played a bunch of different positions, and I got an opportunity, and I love opportunity. I made my career on it, so I’m going to keep trying to do the same.”

Coming from Stanford, most Steelers fans will think of another guard who was a first round pick for the black-and-gold. That would be none other than David DeCastro. When asked, Herbig knew all about DeCastro from his time in college, and his career with the Steelers.

“When I went to Stanford, David DeCastro was a Steeler.” Herbig recalled. “Great, a legend, and I just would watch his games on Sunday in the weight room. Just watching him out there dominating, that’s how I want to play football. I respect it. I want to be like him.”

Herbig might not be a starting lineman when the dust settles on training camp, but what he provides in terms of position versatility and experience shouldn’t be underscored. Ultimately, there are some players who you want on your team, and Herbig would certainly fall into that category. Consider him a “glue guy”, and a very big “glue guy” at that.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.

Patrick Peterson hints at the Steelers trying to get him before the 2022 season

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 12:30pm
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers’ interest in Patrick Peterson hasn’t just started this offseason.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had an eventful start to the 2023 NFL league year so far, and one area of the intrigue surrounding the Steelers’ free agent moves has been their activity on Day 1.

The first day saw the Steelers lose veteran cornerback Cameron Sutton to the Detroit Lions, but then the team acquired veteran, and most would say future Hall of Famer, Patrick Peterson.

Peterson is no spring chicken, but his value as a savvy veteran is undeniable. When Peterson’s signing was made official by the organization, he answered questions from the Pittsburgh media. One answer he provided was extremely interesting, as he alluded to the Steelers trying to trade for him before the 2022 season.

Here was his response when asked if he was surprised the Steelers reached out on the first day they could negotiate with players.

“I wasn’t surprised because we almost made something happen last year, having conversations with Grady [Brown] and Coach [Mike] Tomlin last year.” Peterson said.

“Obviously, we weren’t able to make it happen, but this go around in a different situation losing a key component to their secondary in Cam [Sutton] and feeling like they needed a guy that has some of those same attributes as a smart, tough physical football player… I wanted to be a part of this pedigree and this identity that the Steelers organization and team brings to the NFL. They’re always competitive. Coach Tomlin is always going to have his guys in position to win no matter what the circumstances are. For me being in the latter part of my career, I wanted to be a part of a very storied franchise and what better franchise that you would want to be with than the Pittsburgh Steelers?”

From there, Peterson was asked about his overall experience with the Steelers, and mainly head coach Mike Tomlin.

“With Coach Tomlin having an opportunity to coach my cousin, Bryant McFadden, I had an opportunity to cross paths with him numerous times before I got to college, and obviously, coming out of LSU and getting prepared for the Draft, having communication throughout that process.

“Just watching him from afar, anytime we played him, it was just always a great deal of respect between us. When you see his coaching style, how much his players talk about him, his sayings, you just want to be a part of something like that. When you have an opportunity, you don’t want to waste that opportunity.

“On the second go round, I feel like I definitely have a lot left in the tank. I can provide a lot to whatever team I was going to land on, but I felt like this was the best fit for me, just because of what Coach can do for my career as a DB.”

It shouldn’t shock any Steelers fans when it comes to the amount of respect Tomlin provides across the league. Nonetheless, Peterson’s track to becoming a member of the Steelers certainly ran through his cousin, and former defensive back, Bryant McFadden. It was through McFadden where Peterson was told how passionate the fan base is, and what to expect when donning the black-and-gold for the first time.

“Just telling me how loyal the fans, the organization, the Rooney family are. Just how the passion that this city has for not only the Pittsburgh Steelers, but for sports in general.” Peterson recalled of conversations with his cousin.

“For me, being a defensive player, when you have the fans making it hard for opposing teams, even on the road because I can remember the Cardinals fans and seeing a bunch of Terrible Towels taking over that stadium. So being a defensive player and going on the road and seeing your fans do that, it makes you want to play that much harder and makes you want to bring that ‘W’ home that much more.

“It is quite an honor to finally be a part of this organization, this rich tradition that this organization has. Very, very blessed, and Bryant told me that this fan base is like no other, so I’m excited to be a part of it.”

When it comes to the fan base, there were plenty who had their reservations surrounding the signing of a player who will be 33 when the 2023 season kicks off. Nonetheless, Peterson is at least saying all the right things to get some confidence growing among the global fan base.

Let’s just hope he still has plenty of gas left in the tank before he calls it a career.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.

Steelers promote OLB coach from within, also add a defensive quality control coach

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 10:40am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are adding to their coaching staff, but also promoting from within.

The Pittsburgh Steelers under Mike Tomlin have been known for having one of the smallest coaching staffs in the NFL. Last season they were tied with the Las Vegas Raiders as the smallest coaching staff in the league with 18 coaches.

Already this offseason the Steelers have lost three coaches, but have started to fill out their staff as the 2023 NFL Draft approaches. After the hiring of Aaron Curry as inside linebackers coach, the Steelers needed to fill the void at outside linebackers coach. After Brian Flores left to be the Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator, the team has decided to promote from within to fill that void.

The team promoted Denzel Ward to outside linebackers coach, and also names Jason Brooks as a defensive quality control coach.

This from the Steelers official Twitter feed:

We have named Jason Brooks as our defensive quality control coach and promoted Denzel Martin to outside linebackers coach.


— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 20, 2023

When it comes to Brooks and his coaching resume, this is from the Steelers official website:

Brooks comes to the Steelers from the Baltimore Ravens where he spent the last two seasons. In total he has spent six seasons with the Ravens in multiple roles, including football analyst (2022), assistant defensive line/quality control coach (2021) as well as offensive quality coach and offensive assistant (2009-12).

Brooks spent two seasons at Charleston Southern University where he was the defensive line coach. In his first season at Charleston Southern three defensive linemen earned first-team All-Big South honors and the school set a single season sack record with 35, while also recording 95 tackles for a loss, sixth-most in the conference.

Prior to that he spent two years at Colby College in Maine in the same position. Brooks also spent four years coaching defensive backs and special teams at Florida International University and served as the wide receivers coach at Norwich University.

In addition, Brooks worked as a scouting assistant for the Miami Dolphins from 2007-08, working as the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship.

Brooks, who graduated from Middle Tennessee State, comes from strong football bloodlines. His late father, Clarence Brooks, coached 24 years in the NFL as the defensive line coach for the Ravens, Dolphins, Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears and 17 on the college level.

As for Martin, here is a breakdown of his resume not just with the Steelers, but what he brings to the team as the new man in charge of the outside linebackers. This, too, is from

Martin spent the past four seasons as the team’s assistant outside linebackers coach and has spent the last eight seasons with the organization prior to being named outside linebackers coach. He started his Steelers career as a scouting assistant in 2016-17 and then moved to the coaching side where he was a coaching assistant from 2018-19.

Martin was a part of coaching the defense that held opponents to 17 points or less through the final seven games of the 2022 season. Three members of that defense, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, outside linebacker T.J. Watt and defensive tackle Cameron Heyward were all named to the 2023 Pro Bowl Games.

Prior to joining the Steelers he spent the 2015 season at this alma mater, the University of Missouri, where he was a recruiting graduate assistant. Martin, who is from St. Louis, Missouri, played linebacker at the school from 2010-14 and earned a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in positive coaching.

The Steelers will likely continue to look into adding to their coaching staff before the start of the new season, and for all the latest news and notes surrounding the team you can expect it to be found right here at BTSC.

ESPN grades the Steelers new contract with Larry Ogunjobi as mediocre

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 10:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers invested heavily in Larry Ogunjobi, and ESPN isn’t buying the move.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been active in the first week of the NFL’s free agency period. No longer are they going to just sit back and wait to see who could potentially fall in their laps. Instead, under new General Manager (GM) Omar Khan, they have gone out and signed the players they deem to be a priority.

In case you forgot, here are the players the team has signed since the start of the NFL’s negotiating window opened a week ago:

  • CB Patrick Peterson
  • S Damontae Kazee
  • OG Nate Herbig
  • DL Larry Ogunjobi
  • LB Cole Holecomb
  • LB Elanden Roberts
  • OG Isaac Seumalo

Most of these signings were deemed to be positives by the fan base, but for the national pundits, there was one signing they weren’t exactly ecstatic about. That would be the 3-year deal given to Larry Ogunjobi, and the pundits would be those at ESPN.

Take a look at how ESPN graded the Steelers deal with the veteran defensive lineman, as well as how it could impact the team’s 2023 NFL Draft plans:

Steelers to re-sign DT Larry Ogunjobi

The deal: Three years, $28.75 million

Grade: C

Defensive tackles around the league are (rightfully) getting paid, but I don’t see it with Ogunjobi. He had seven sacks for the Bengals in 2021, but his 7% pass rush win rate ranked 39th out of 53 qualifying defensive tackles, which suggests those sacks might have been a fluke.

For the Steelers last season, Ogunjobi’s win rate dropped even further to 6%, which ranked 46th among 54 defensive tackles, and he had just 1.5 sacks. His 36% run stop win rate is above average but not exceptional — he ranked 22nd of 68 qualifying tackles. That’s just not a profile of a player I would want to be paying real money for, which is what the Steelers just did. — Walder

What this means for the 2023 draft: The signing of Ogunjobi shouldn’t shift Pittsburgh’s focus away from continuing to add players along the defensive line. The Steelers’ two biggest areas of need are offensive line and cornerback. With seven picks total — including two inside of the top 32 — general manager Omar Khan will have an opportunity to fortify both spots throughout the draft. At outside corner, Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State) or Deonte Banks (Maryland) could make sense in Round 1. Both have physical traits the team has gravitated toward in the past.

Steelers fans know enough to believe what national sites like ESPN suggest about the deal, but you do have to wonder about Ogunjobi’s overall value after an injury-riddled season which saw him as a mainstay on the injury report almost weekly.

Nonetheless, the signing of Ogunjobi was a smart move as it pertains to the overall roster construction of the defense. Having Ogunjobi under contract will allow the Steelers to enter the draft with a Best Player Available (BPA) approach, rather than drafting specific positions based solely on need.

ESPN may not love the contract, but what ESPN often forgets is how the Steelers typically do things differently than the rest of the league. Everything from contract structure to how they utilize players on the field. Yes, Ogunjobi’s win rate wasn’t the best in 2022, but were the Steelers asking him to do that, or simply helping to alleviate pressure off fellow linemates, mainly Cam Heyward?

Something to consider before you allow ESPN’s own, and often singular, thoughts to permeate your brain when analyzing the Steelers’ offseason moves.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.

Mock Draft Monday: Steelers add a versatile OT with top pick

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 8:30am
Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the latest mock draft, the Steelers look to add a tackle who could play either side with their first-round selection.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into the 2023 offseason. With free agency well under way to shape next season’s roster, it will be followed by the NFL draft in April. The Steelers have already added some free agent acquisitions before making their first draft selection. Player pro days will also shape the team’s big boards before the draft.

When talking about mock drafts or NFL free agency, you have to first identify the team’s main needs for the offseason. Before any gains or losses in free agency, there are some who would like to see the Steelers go with either offensive line or defensive line with their first-round pick. Others feel inside linebacker or cornerback could be on top of the list. With plenty of chances for the Steelers to shape their roster prior to April, their goal is usually to get into position to draft the best player available rather than target a specific position. When it comes to what position the team will select with their first pick, it is certainly up for debate.

In the latest mock drafts by CBS Sports, they have the Steelers addressing the offensive tackle position before anything else. While the position is one which needs to be addressed, the bigger question is if the first round is the place to do it after adding tow guards in free agency. Since the Steelers could go in any number of directions with their first selection, it is important to look at all the possibilities presented by various mock draft outlets.

Check out the Steelers 17th pick:

17. Pittsburgh Steelers | Darnell Wright | 0T | Tennessee | Sr. |

Still being in the middle of the draft process, there may be some players most fans are not familiar with. If this is the case, here is a breakdown of Wright according to

Darnell Wright NFL Draft Scouting Report

OT, Tennessee Volunteers

A consensus five-star recruit, Darnell Wright delivered a highly productive career at Tennessee. He became a starter as a freshman at right tackle in 2019 and started every game there in 2020 before moving to left tackle in 2021 and then finishing his career back at right tackle in 2022. His experience against top competition, ability to play both sides, and growth in every season is a notable part of his evaluation.

Wright features an appealing blend of size, power, and tenacity. He has the functional strength and mass to create displacement in the run game. I really like the power in his hands and overall grip strength. His hands are not easily displaced and it’s impressive how his punch is able to stun opponents. He displays the ability to operate his hands independently and vary his strikes. Wright’s anchor is stout in pass protection and opponents won’t find success attempting to play through him. He’s a competitive blocker with ideal temperament. He is confident in pass pro, rarely getting overeager, and trusts his ability to frame, anchor, and utilize his length to keep opponents at bay.

Wright is a big-bodied blocker with only sufficient foot speed and tight hips. I believe he could benefit from dropping 10-15 pounds to improve his movement skills. Wright struggles to get good depth in his vertical sets and likes to quick set and get his hands fit while dropping his anchor to stymie rushers before they can get multiple steps into their rush. He has some tendencies to get top-heavy, duck his head, and fold at the waist when engaged with blocks—he needs to play with better bend and leverage. Wright’s range as a run blocker is underwhelming and he hasn’t proven to be effective on longer pulls or climbing to the second level while being tasked with connecting with moving targets. His modest lateral range creates challenges when attempting to execute reach blocks. In addition, he isn’t the most fluid when required to hinge and pivot when passing off rushers and adjusting to pressure schemes.

Wright has the makeup of a quality NFL starter in a run scheme that is willing to accept his modest range. His experience against top competition, power, and mass give him the chance to be a starter early in his career.

Top Reasons to Buy In:

Experience and performance at both LT and RT against top competition

Hand technique and length

Functional strength and patience in pass protection

Top Reasons For Concern:

Range in the run game

Modest footspeed and tightness in the lower half

Bend and leverage

For all you who are preparing yourself for the draft, what do you think of the selection? Would you be on board with the Steelers taking Wright with their first pick? Or do you feel there is a better player at this position, this position should be avoided, or that Wright is worthy of the 17th pick? Personally, this pick would not surprise me at all based on the way this particular mock played out. This is the next tackle I think the Steelers would possibly take if all of the “Big Three” are off the board. Additionally, I wasn’t a fan of how the cornerback situation developed in this mock draft either and think that Wright would be a good option here. I also have to note that I like the players who would still be available for the Steelers at pick 32 when seeing who was still available.

Note: This series began in January and will run all the way up to the 2023 NFL draft. Each week highlights a new player. For this reason, sometimes it takes an outside-the-box mock draft in order to highlight a different possibility. These mock drafts are in no way an endorsement from BTSC.

Updating the Steelers’ salary cap situation after details from Larry Ogunjobi’s contract

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 7:15am
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With the breakdown of Ogunjobi’s deal now reported, how much space do the Steelers have under the 2023 salary cap?

The Pittsburgh Steelers made several moves during the first week of 2023 free agency. While reports come in of these deals well before they are official, even after pen is put to paper it can sometimes take some time to know the exact financials within the contract. Relying heavily on reliable salary cap websites such as (OTC) or, when they are able to report a player’s contract numbers over the specific years I then update the salary cap situation with a more precise number.

Since the last cap update, OTC has reported the salary breakdown for Larry Ogunjobi. Originally reported to have $21.75 million in guaranteed money, this appears to not be the case. The only fully guaranteed money Ogunjobi will receive is his $1.4 million base salary for 2023 and his $10.6 million signing bonus. In 2024, Ogunjobi is due to receive a $5 million base salary and a $4.75 million roster bonus just after the start of the league year. In 2025, Ogunjobi is scheduled to have a $4 million base salary with a $3 million roster bonus due just after the start of the league year.

By splitting up Ogunjobi‘s $10.6 million signing bonus over the three years of the contract, he has a $3,533,333 prorated bonus each year. This puts Ogunjobi’s salary cap number for 2023 at $4,933,333 according to OTC which is even lower than I expected. Ogunjobi’s future salary cap hits are set to be $13,283,333 for 2024 and $10,533,334 million for 2025.

Late Saturday night, the Steelers signed guard Isaac Seumalo to a three-year deal. It has been reported that the deal is worth $24 million but the exact breakdown is unknown at this time.

Late last night, the #Steelers agreed to terms with #Eagles G Isaac Seumalo, giving him a 3-year deal for $24M, source said.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 19, 2023

Assuming that the Steelers spread out the $24 million to $8 million each season, and assuming that Seumalo’s base salary for the first year is the league minimum $1.165 million, the low end of the salary cap estimate would be $3.44 million. A more conservative estimate using the $8 million per season model would be to have Seumalo have a base salary of $2 million in 2023 and a signing bonus of $6 million. This would put his salary cap hit for the season at $4 million. Although I believe the number will come in closer to the $3.44 million, I’m going to use the safe estimate at $4 million until the exact amount is reported.

Remember, to determine how much each player changes the Steelers’ salary cap space, their cap number must be adjusted due to roster displacement. As a reminder, roster displacement is taking into account only the top 51 contracts for a team count towards the salary cap during the offseason. As a larger contract comes on the books, it bumps a smaller contract out of the top 51 . Therefore, it’s only the difference in those contracts that increases the salary cap number.

Here is the approximate breakdown of the Steelers salary cap space based on their recent moves by my own calculations. The numbers are strictly the salary cap hit for each player in 2023. When it comes to the estimated amounts, I use their overall contract to estimate what their salary cap hit will be for 2023. When their exact numbers are reported I will adjust things accordingly. Until then, it is simply my best guess.

(NOTE: Unless indicated, all reported salaries displaced a $870k salary.)

Steelers salary cap space heading into free agency: Approximately -$1.4 million

William Jackson III: Saved $12.1875 million salary; After displacement: +$11.3175 million
Carlins Platel: Salary not in the top 51: -$0
Patrick Peterson: Reported $4.225 million; After displacement: -$3.355 million
Damontae Kazee: Reported $2.125 million; After displacement: -$1.255 million
Nate Herbig: Reported $2.54 million; After displacement: -$1.67 million
Cole Holcomb: Reported $2.72 million; After displacement: -$1.85 million
Minkah Fitzpatrick: Saved $10.065 million; No displacement: +$10.065 million
Elandon Roberts: Reported $2.3325 million; After displacement: -$1.4625 million
Myles Jack: Saved $8 million; After displacement: +$7.13 million
Larry Ogunjobi: Reported $4.933333 million; After displacement*: -$4.059333 million
Isaac Seumalo: ESTIMATED $4 million; After displacement*: -$3.123916 million

Approximate salary cap space: Approximately $10.3 million

*The salaries displaced by these two contracts were $874,000 (Jaylin Warren) and $876,084 (Calvin Austin III)

So where does this number compare to those reported by the major salary cap websites (at the original time of publishing, before any potential updates)?

According to (OTC), the Steelers are $13,952,485 under the salary cap and has all the above contracts except for Isaac Seumalo. Additionally, OTC is missing almost $500k in dead money by my calculations. Once factoring this in, we have the same number.

Another credible salary cap website is, which has the Steelers at $18,578,084 under the cap. Spotrac has the above contracts except for Ogunjobi and Seumalo but is missing two other contracts that are on OTC in Tae Crowder and Jamir Jones. Additionally, Spotrac does not have the offseason workouts counting against the salary cap at this time.

While the Steelers are going to need cap space for a number of things this offseason, it doesn’t have to be at this time. Following the NFL draft, the Steelers will begin signing their draft picks and are estimated to need $2.5 million to $3 million in cap space once figuring roster displacement now that the exact draft positions are known with the announcement of compensatory draft picks. But remember, the Steelers won’t need this amount until at least May. Also, the Steelers will need more money come September when they need to account for all 53 players on the roster, sign their practice squad, and have some carryover in order to do business throughout the year.

Does something not make sense? Curious about any of the specifics? Leave your questions in the comments below and I will check in and do my best to answer them.

Pro Day Schedule: Updated days/times as prospects prepare for the NFL Draft

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 6:00am

The NFL Combine is over, and now the attention goes to individual school Pro Days.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, along with all other NFL franchises, are coming off the successful 2023 NFL Scouting Combine in preparation for the 2023 NFL Draft. However, there is a stepping stone between the Combine and the Draft, and those would be individual school’s Pro Days.

When teams hold their Pro Days, it is important to note several things:

  • Who attends for your favorite team

For the Steelers, when the organization sends their top brass, Omar Khan, Andy Weidl, and Mike Tomlin, it is for a reason. Not to suggest if just the offensive line coach attends it isn’t significant, but when the big guns are attention.

  • Players who were waiting to test

Whether it is a quarterback throwing for the first time this offseason, or someone running the 40-yard dash. Some Pro Days are the only chances NFL teams get to see these prospects perform.

  • Compare numbers

If players are performing at both the Combine and their school’s Pro Day, it is a great chance to see how they do in both events. These numbers can be telling, and if they improve, or get worse, is worth noting.

Okay, now to the Pro Day schedule...

Updated NFL pro days schedule 2023

(All times local)

March 20

March 21 March 22 March 23
  • Alabama
  • California
  • Cincinnati
  • Houston
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin
March 24
  • Boston College
  • BYU
  • Kentucky
  • Notre Dame
  • Old Dominion
  • Penn State
  • San Jose State
March 27 March 28 March 29 March 30
  • Appalachian State
  • Charlotte
  • Florida
  • Florida A&M
  • Florida State
  • Fresno State
  • Oklahoma
  • TCU
  • Tennessee
March 31
  • Kansas
  • Kansas State
  • South Dakota State
  • Tennessee-Chattanooga

April 6

  • Alabama

Be sure to follow BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the NFL offseason.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the SCN family podcasts

Mon, 03/20/2023 - 4:30am

Get the latest Steel Curtain Network podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

We here at Steel Curtain Network, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way as the Steelers set the stage for 2023. With so much going on, make sure you check out our ‘Podcast Roundup’ article to keep up with the latest podcasts that cover everything Steelers for your black-and-gold knowledge, curiosity and enjoyment.

With that being said and typed, have fun with the shows below with a brief description of each podcast.

The Steelers Sunday Night Q&A: If you’ve got the Free Agency Q, we’ve got the A

It’s another offseason Sunday in 2023 with no NFL football and no games scheduled for next week. What are you going to do without the Steelers? BTSC answers that question by inviting fans to ask questions. This week, the first week of free agency is top of the charts with What Yinz Talkin’ Bout’s Kyle Chrise and a mini Coach T taking questions from the live chat for some good Steelers discussion.

Listen to the show on the player below:

Let’s Ride, Monday: Deciphering the Steelers direction after one week of free agency

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been very active in the first week of free agency, and it’s time to decipher which direction they are headed as a team. Jeff Hartman welcomes in K.T. Smith for his expertise on the Xs and Os of the game, as well as his insight on the Steelers heading into the 2023 season. All a part of the Monday AM Conversation on the “Let’s Ride” podcast.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Deciphering the Steelers’ Direction
  • and MUCH MORE!

Listen to the show on the player below:

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE


Google Play: CLICK HERE

The More You Know, Random facts about your Steelers: St. Pattys, Free Agency and March Madness

Sun, 03/19/2023 - 1:30pm
Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Time to learn more about your favorite NFL team, and some trivia as well!

It’s the offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers and there are so many topics to talk and write about. Free agents, the coordinator conundrum, the next quarterback, the NFL Draft, signings, retirements and breaking news will all be covered here at BTSC. But who’s going to give you little-known-facts out of the 500 Level?

Luckily, your one-stop, and non-stop, shop for everything Steelers employs a Steelers fan that was allegedly dropped on his head as a one-year-old during the Immaculate Reception. Useless and somewhat fascinating facts are his forte. So, here we are with off-the-wall thoughts from the dark side of a black-and-gold brain that nobody asked for. But the joke’s on you as you’ll be telling your peeps something you read here later.

412 Forever Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Unrestricted Free Agency that we know so well turns 30 this year. In that time, the first hometown pickup for the Men of Steel was in safety Mike Logan, who signed in 2001. Mike played his high school football for the McKeesport Tigers and had a stellar career as a West Virginia Mountaineer. A second-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1997, Logan was a valuable Steeler and a member of the Super Bowl XL championship team. After 6 seasons in Pittsburgh, McKeesport Mike retired from a solid 10-year NFL career in 2007.

BTSC Steelers Jeopardy

(Answer at bottom of article)

Steel Facts

With the NCAA Tournament in full swing, it’s interesting to note that the Steelers had one notable player participate in March Madness in their history. Playing for the legendary Bobby Knight at the University of Indiana, Steelers’ receiver Antwaan Randle-El spent his redshirt freshman year as a Hoosiers Hoopster, appearing in 11 games, including two in the NCAA Tournament. Randle El also played baseball, but his main focus was football and the Indiana QB was drafted by the Steelers 62nd overall in the second round of the 2002 Draft.

Middle Name Madness - Patrick De’mon Peterson Jr.

We love citing the second name of members of the Men of Steel here at Behind the Steel Curtain. We always cite Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger, Christopher Lynn Boswell and Trent Jordan Watt, but who else? Hence, the “More You Know Middle Name of the Week”. This week we honor a superstar that just joined the Steelers this week.

This Week’s Birthdays of Steel This Week’s Birthdays of Steel

3/19 - Diontae Spencer - 1992

3/20 - Nick Bolkavec - 1928

3/21 - Weegie Thompson - 1961, Ahkello Witherspoon - 1995. Josh Malone - 1996

3/22 - Joey Porter - 1977. John Rienstra - 1963, Sutton Smith - 1996, Stefan Wisniewski - 1989

3/23 - James Saxon - 1965

3/24 - Greg Blankenship - 1954, Jerme Tuman - 1965, Calvin Austin III - 1999a

3/25 - Mike Adams - 1974, Al Woods - 1987

3/26 - Fernando Bryant - 1977, Elton Veals - 1961

Disturbing Sights - Eric Green

Not every NFL player retires with their original team, having played with no other franchise. We may try to forget the image of our Steel Heroes wearing another uniform, but it’s a part of fandom and legends sometimes change team colors. Eric Green was a top pick of Chuck Noll’s Steelers in 1990 and pulled in 198 catches with 24 touchdowns in five black-and-gold seasons. But a big money deal came from Miami and Green jetted for a year in South Beach before three years in Baltimore and a final season as a Jet in 1999. It’s a small consolation that Green was never as great elsewhere as he was in the Burgh. However, the sight of No. 86 wearing the aqua & orange, purple and green was disconcerting.

Steelers Jeopardy Answer in the Form of a Question: Who is Will Wolford Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

The Steelers were looking for a guard in 1996 and Will Wolford wanted to move inside from the left tackle position he had played to that point in his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills and the Indianapolis Colts. The Steelers signed Wolford to indeed play guard, but Dan Rooney also agreed that if the veteran was asked to play left tackle, he would receive a bonus payment for making the move. However, a clerical error saw that bonus being omitted. Due to injuries at the left tackle position in 1998, Rooney kept his word and paid the bonus to stay true, but because the bonus wasn’t in the original contract, the Steelers were forced to surrender a No. 3 pick in the 2001 draft.

So, there you have it. Anybody can spout out stat after stat, but not everybody can embrace the colorful and personal side of the Pittsburgh Steelers. So, the more you know, the more you can stupefy your friends, family and neighbors with your big, black-and-gold brain.

We’ll see you right here next week. Until then keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the hypocycloids.

3 options for the Steelers with Montravius Adams headed into 2023

Sun, 03/19/2023 - 12:00pm
Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With one year remaining on his contract, there are 3 different ways the Steelers could go with Montravius Adams this offseason.

As the 2023 NFL league year set to kick off at 4 PM on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, there are a number of decisions that the Pittsburgh Steelers have to make with a fair amount of players when it comes to their status for this season. While some players are set to become unrestricted free agents, there are some still under contract with the Steelers whose future might be in danger simply because of the amount of salary cap space they would consume for this coming season. Although some players are more obvious if they will be kept on for another season, others are more up for debate.

With some great discussion with talking about the options for Myles Jack, I decided to extend the question to other players who have one year remaining on their contract and have a significant cap savings if they were cut. After discussing Mitch Trubisky, Ahkello Witherspoon, Gunner Olszewski, Levi Wallace, and Arthur Maulet, next up is defensive tackle Montravius Adams. How should the Pittsburgh Steelers handle his situation? For the most part, there are three options when it comes to Adams and the 2023 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers:


The Steelers need to get better on the defensive line. With Cam Heyward and Larry Ogunjobi returning at the two tackle spots, the Steelers will be better served to have a better option at nose tackle that could also get involved with the rotation on the defensive line. Rolling out the status quo just isn’t good enough, and someone who only plays nose isn’t worth keeping around if he’s not the starter.


Once again, there’s not much salary cap space to be had from Montravius Adams. Yes, the Steelers could save $2.5 million against the cap, but after displacement they would only clear about $1.6 million which isn’t really worth the savings. Adams might not hold onto the starting job for next year depending on what the Steelers do in the rest of free agency and in the 2023 NFL draft, but there’s no reason to move on from him as he still would give valuable depth.


The Steelers have an age problem on the defensive line. Because of this, there’s a good chance they will address the position in the upcoming draft just like they have the last two seasons. But keeping Adams around beyond this season as he is only 28 years old could be beneficial.

So now that these three options are on the table, it’s time to look at what might be the best move for the Steelers before opening up the discussion, I’ll give my vote:

My vote: Retain

I feel like I’ve got into a rut in continuing to answer that the Steelers should retain these players, but at these contracts for one season it makes sense. There is no reason to get rid of Adams now as he is their best option at nose tackle until their roster is filled out. And even if the Steelers addressed the position in free agency or the draft, having Adams there in case things don’t work out is a much better option for the price. But locking Adams in beyond 2023 is not necessary to do at this time. If the Steelers really want him, worry about it next offseason.

So what do you think? Should the Steelers release, retain, or extend Montravius Adams? Make sure you vote in the poll and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

In case you missed it, check out the same question for other players below:

Have a BAD Week: A look back at the Steelers week from a black-and-gold mind

Sun, 03/19/2023 - 10:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

BTSC’s random-thought renegade is back with his bizarre look at the Steelers week that was.

The focus for the Steelers is now 2023 and despite no games for a while, there’s a slew of news coming out of Steeltown. With Free Agency right around the corner, things are heating up in the Steel City. Let’s all take a look at the week in the ‘burgh together.

Sunday 3/12

Sad news as I learned former #Steelers CB Marv Woodson ('64-'69) passed away in February

"They wanted us to talk about football – when you talk about anything else it makes you too controversial."

— Steelers Takeaways (@PittsburghSport) March 12, 2023

R.I.P. to a Steeler that we should know more about.

Sources: The deal is done. #Rams CB Jalen Ramsey to the #Dolphins, which includes him getting 2023 and 2024 fully guaranteed .

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 12, 2023

Third Rounder for Ramsey? Complaints from Steeler Nation aplenty coming.

No NFL head coach takes advantage of @seniorbowl more than #Steelers HC Mike Tomlin.

Here’s Tomlin in middle of OL Indy period.

We asked one HC: Why don’t all head coaches clear 3 days off their schedule to see over 40% of all drafted players?

HC’s response: “They’re lazy”

— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) March 12, 2023

There’s more to being a NFL Head Coach besides what happens on the sidelines.

Monday 3/13

The Browns have restructured Deshaun Watson's contract to create almost $36M in cap space, per @RapSheet

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 13, 2023

He’s still going to hinder the franchise with that contract. It’s not a give back, it’s a restructure.

️New to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

The ball with which @kennypickett10 threw the game-winning pass against the Raiders on Christmas Eve.

This made Pickett the first rookie QB in NFL history to throw game-winning TDs in the last minute of back to back games.

: @nflnetwork

— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) March 13, 2023

Hopefully just the tip of the iceberg for adding the HOF inscription to Kenny Pickett’s name.

The #Lions are re-signing DL Isaiah Buggs to a two-year deal worth up to $6 million, per source.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 13, 2023

Buggs post-Steelers career picking up. Good for Isaiahiah.

#Bills LB Tyler Matakevich has agreed to terms on 2-year deal to stay in Buffalo, source says. Another day, another LB move.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2023

Dirty Red getting more dough to stay with the Mafia.

#Steelers schedule pre-draft visit with top OG prospect O'Cyrus Torrence

— Still Curtain (@StillCurtain) March 13, 2023

Torrence fits the bill. Let’s see if the 412 adorns his phone screen in late April.

Source: The #Bears are on the board, signing star former #Eagles LB TJ Edwards to a 3-year deal.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2023

T.J. seemed like the direction the Steelers were going in, but he’s going elsewhere. Plus, can you really put a T.J. next to to the T.J.?

The #Ravens released veteran DE Calais Campbell.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 13, 2023

Great to see this Steelers nemesis out of the division. Great player, but I’m sick of the big man wrecking things for the Steelers.

Source: The #Lions are signing Cam Sutton to a 3-year deal worth $33M with $22.5M guaranteed.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2023

Cam’s a class act and I hate to see No. 20 leave the Burgh, but I don’t think the Steelers were looking anywhere close to matching that cash grab.

Former Eagles’ DT Javon Hargrave has reached agreement on a four-year, $80 million deal that includes $40m guaranteed at signing with the SF 49ers, per sources. Deal negotiated and confirmed by Drew Rosenhaus and Ryan Matha.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2023

And you all thought Hargrave was going to give the Steelers a hometown discount?

The #Bengals are re-signing LB Germaine Pratt to a three-year, $21 million deal, per source. He gets $10.35M in Year 1 and $15.15M over two years. He’s started 54 career games and now stays in Cincinnati.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 13, 2023

There’s another free agent to cross off the fan’s wish list.

Bears are giving former Bills’ LB Tremaine Edmunds a 4-yr, $72M that includes $50M guaranteed, per source. It is the largest 4-year contract for an inside linebacker in the NFL.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2023

And you all thought Tremaine was going to take less to play with his brother in Pittsburgh?

Mannnnn this is amazing .. crazyy feeling danggggg …

— Terrell Edmunds (@rell_island6) March 13, 2023

Is this a cryptic message or is Terrell happy for his brother?

It's a 4-year deal for$16.005M per year. Wow.

4th highest paid in NFL history

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2023

Nice to see Bates out of that gaudy tiger print.

It's a two-year deal for Peterson with the Steelers, per @AdamSchefter.

— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) March 13, 2023

Wow!!!! Omar Khan isn’t kidding around. Some players are ageless and Peterson could be great for Mike Tomlin’s team.

New #Steelers CB Patrick Peterson's deal is two years, $14 million with $5.85M guaranteed, per source.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 14, 2023

They didn’t break the bank either.

According to Bryant McFadden, Mike Tomlin is in Clemson.

So expect him at that Tigers' Pro Day tomorrow. #Steelers

— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) March 13, 2023

There are two serious defenders, in Death Valley, Trenton Simpson and Brian Bresee, that make Clemson a “must-see” for Coach T.

Tuesday 3/14

#Steelers OL coach Pat Meyer is here in Evanston for Northwestern's Pro Day. Just spent a good amount of time talking to Peter Skoronski.

— Bradley Locker (@Bradley_Locker) March 14, 2023

Doesn’t matter who they sent, the Steelers were in Evanston to check out Skoronski.

Georgia CB Kelee Ringo has Top 30 visits scheduled with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders, per source.

He's also scheduled to meet with the Colts, Seahawks, and Broncos prior to Georgia's Pro Day tomorrow.

— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) March 14, 2023

Ringo? When is Paul McCartney scheduled to visit? Seriously though, corners are high on the draft board,

The #Steelers have agreed to terms with G Nate Herbig on a two-year deal worth $8 million with $4 million guaranteed, source says. Pittsburgh assistant GM Andy Weidl was in Philly when Herbig was with the #Eagles and believes in him as a starter.

— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 14, 2023

I have a feeling that Nasty Nate is going to be a favorite in Steel City.

: The #Steelers have signed S Damontae Kazee to a 2-year deal, per @Schultz_Report

— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) March 14, 2023

This is great news. Batman Minkah needs a Robin and Kazee has the right stuff.

I guess some people think this was real and not a troll lol the miami dolphins did not sign Jesse Davis back, I've had to many people tell me we signed him so we don't need to sign a RT lol

— DouglieDoWrong (@DouglieDoWrong) March 14, 2023

This did not happen. A hoax by a Dolphins fan, but don’t expect Jesse Davis to stick and stay in Pittsburgh.

Free-agent DT Larry Ogunjobi is headed back to the Steelers on a three-year, $28.75 million deal that will pay him $21.75 million in the first two years, per source.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2023

Larry O-Yeah! After an $8 Million dollar deal last season, Ogunjobi got a slight raise to stick and stay in Steeltown.

The #Raiders have agreed to terms with ex-Steelers LB Robert Spillane. It's a two-year deal worth a max of $9M with over $4M guaranteed, per source.

— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) March 14, 2023

Spilly was valuable here, but glad to see “Big Play Bob” get a deal, Who’s playing linebacker on the inside in Pittsburgh though?

It’s done. #Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch stays in Dallas. 2 years/11M. First year guaranteed.

— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) March 14, 2023

Houston Texans made a last minute push and the Steelers were also in play

— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) March 14, 2023

Another darling of yinzers off the table. Are you surprised to see that the STeelers were in play here? Omar needs to find inside linebackers.

The #Chargers are releasing starting guard Matt Feiler, source said. He had an $8.5M cap hit for 2023.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 14, 2023

Hmmmmm. Feiler was a solid started in Pittsburgh. Could we see a return home?

Wednesday 3/15

The #Panthers are expected to sign former #Bengals TE and first-round pick Hayden Hurst, source said. Another weapon for their new QB (whoever that is).

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2023

Not sad to see Hurst out of the division. But a fourth team for the TE in six seasons is crazy.

The #Steelers agreed to terms with former #Commanders LB Cole Holcomb earlier this week on a three-year deal pending physical, per source.

Holcomb, 26, has started 48 games for Washington. A big addition to Pittsburgh’s defense.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 15, 2023

If he’s healthy and healed, Holcomb could be an upgrade over Robert Spillane.

Steelers’ Mike Tomlin back again at Georgia Pro Day

— Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) March 15, 2023

Of course, Tomlin is going to visit the two-time champs. Which Bulldog did Mike Tomlin get on the field with this year? He went one-on-one with George Pickens last year.

ESPN update from Jalen Carter's pro day, where he was nine pounds heavier than at the NFL combine and "couldn't finish his position drills."

— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) March 15, 2023

This kid is struggling. It’s a shame.

The #Patriots are giving WR JuJu Smith-Schuster a 3-year deal worth $33m, source said. A big investment.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2023

JuJu bet on himself and finally won two years later, but he’s in New England now. I’ll root for Boujee, but I’m done with the Juje.

According to NFL memo, the Steelers did not tender any of their restricted free agents: James Pierre, J.C. Hassenauer or Steven Sims. Could be trying to work out deals for lesser amounts with all three players, however. Some such deals already have happened around league.

— Joe Rutter (@tribjoerutter) March 15, 2023

Three players that contributed in their time here. Good luck on your future endeavors.

And for the #Bengals, they get a great deal. Orlando Brown is now the 17th highest paid tackle in the NFL.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2023

They lost half of their defense, but spent a ton on protection for Joe B.

Among teams that showed interest in Orlando Brown, per agent Michael Portner: The #Steelers and #Jets. Bengals put deal over the top with strong guarantees over long term. @TomPelissero 1st on the deal.

— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 16, 2023

The big man comes back to the AFC North. I wonder if the Steelers were serious or just jacking up the price for the Bengals.

Thursday 3/16

#Steelers cleared about $10M in cap room with a restructure of Minkah Fitzpatrick's contract

— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) March 16, 2023

The best scenario for a restructure was Minkah.

LB Elandon Roberts tells me he is signing a 2-year deal with the Steelers

— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) March 16, 2023

Nice! I was calling for this in 2022. Roberts is solid.

Steelers cut LB Myles Jack, per source.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2023

l thought maybe a restructure, but I’m surprised that Jack got jacked after only one year.

Welcome to the team, @P2! ✨

Get his look ⬇️

Quarter zip:

— Steelers Pro Shop (@SteelersShop) March 16, 2023

Officially Official.

I’m told the #Steelers have preliminary interest in bringing back Edge Rusher Bud Dupree if they deem “he’s healthy,” a source said. Dupree’s name has definitely come up in Pitt. We’ll see if they end up together once he sorts out his market following his release from Tennessee.

— JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 16, 2023

This is not news, Josina. We’ve been talkin’ bout this for weeks here.

Patrick Peterson will wear No. 20. Sounds familiar @BMac_SportsTalk

— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) March 16, 2023

Couldn’t get No. 7 so P2P will be wearing his cousin, Bryant McFadden’s, digits.

#Steelers Damontae Kazee two years, $6M; $1.75M signing bonus, salaries $1.25M, $3M

— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 17, 2023 Friday 3/17

Former Steelers linebacker Devin Bush Jr. got a one-year, $4 million deal with the Seahawks, per league source.

The Dolphins were also in talks with Bush, a South Florida product, as they still may be looking to add a LB after reaching deals with David Long, Duke Riley.

— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) March 17, 2023

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and GM Omar Khan were among those at Michigan pro day today. Regular stop on the tour for Tomlin, who seems to come to Ann Arbor every year.

— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) March 17, 2023

Isn’t that Harbaugh territory. I’m shocked that Coach T. didn’t get the Harding/Gillooly treatment. That happened in the Wolverine State too.

Saturday 3/18

The Dolphins add another pass rusher in former Broncos and Steeler Malik Reed.

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 18, 2023

For those of you looking at comp picks next year, Malik’s departure ties things up.

This was the significant week that was for the Steelers, mixed-in with my black-and-gold loving life. I’m sure next week will be full of Steelers happenings as well, so we’ll have to do this again. Have a great week, but better yet, have a BAD one.

To listen to more on this, check out the podcast on the player below:

A Letter From the Editor: The unknown can be exhilarating

Sun, 03/19/2023 - 9:00am
Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

There are some who fear the unknown, but the reality is it can be unbelievably exhilarating.

The 2023 NFL league year is officially underway, and although isn’t even a week old there is a portion of most fan bases who are prepared to start hitting the panic button based on what their favorite team did, or didn’t do, during the first wave of free agency.

If I’m being honest, I understand how people can jump to conclusions as it pertains to the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the team made several acquisitions, there were also departures which have fans wondering what the future will hold for the black-and-gold.

I can only speak for myself, but the unknown which is the incomplete 2023 Steelers roster, is exciting. I love watching the process take shape, and for all those fans who are about to suggest the season is over months before it even begins, understand the process is far from over.

Not only will the Steelers continue to make moves throughout free agency, they still have to prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft and their three picks in the Top 50. While there might be other teams who have spent more money on big-name players, the Steelers are a team who shows patience and leaves fans wondering what will happen next.

That unknown is something many fans can’t stand. However, if you embrace the unknown it can be both exciting and exhilarating.

Think about the additions the Steelers have made thus far this free agency:

CB Patrick Peterson

Yes, Peterson is over 30, but what if Peterson’s job is not just to get the very last bit out of him the team can, but to also prepare the next cornerback(s) the team brings in? What if his presence just for two seasons can set up the Steelers for long-term success at the position by having a Hall of Fame caliber player in the room on a day-in and day-out basis?

OG Nate Herbig

The man they call “Nasty Nate” certainly is excited to be in the 412 area code. Herbig said he would play punter on the team if coach asked him to when speaking to the media this past week. The two-year deal for Herbig puts the offensive line in a good spot heading into 2023. It gives them experienced depth on the interior, and lessens their need/reliance on using Kendrick Green for anything other than an inactive designation.

LB Cole Holcomb

The former Washington Commanders green-dot wearing linebacker is known for his hard-hitting, relentless style of play. Unlike Myles Jack a year before him, Holcomb embraces the green-dot and the hope is he is bringing a new intensity to a position where the Steelers could definitely use it.

LB Elandon Roberts

Some call him undersized, but what if Roberts was brought in to do some of the things Devin Bush was supposed to do before his knee injury? Roberts might not be the most athletic player on the planet, but he also isn’t hesitant when playing. The Steelers have something up their sleeves with this linebacker duo.

When you consider the players added from the outside, you have to wonder what the Steelers have in store for their defense. They look as if they are wanting to be more physical and less about the athleticism they once craved after Ryan Shazier’s injury. But, again, no one really knows what lies ahead.

Will they sign Terrell Edmunds?

Will they bring in a wide receiver?

How about Zach Gentry?

The unknown strikes again, as it always does, but it doesn’t mean it is bad. In fact, it often can be exhilarating if you embrace it. I choose to embrace it and enjoy the ride.

(Note: The Letter From the Editor article runs every Sunday during the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason.)

2 Steelers receive NFL performance-based bonuses for 2022

Sun, 03/19/2023 - 7:30am
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Two Steelers offensive linemen earned extra salary through a program designed to help players who are over performing their current contract.

Thanks to a program available through the NFL and the Players Association, the left side of the Steelers offensive line both received a nice jump in pay for the 2022 season in an announcement made on Friday of the top 25 payouts.

Former #Eagles safety Marcus Epps, who left in free agency for the #Raiders, led the NFL with a $880,384 performance-based pay distribution for 2022.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 17, 2023

The NFL’s performance-based pay is a payout which is in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement. It is designed to compensate players based upon their playing time and salary levels. If a player is participating in a high amount of the team’s snap count while on a low salary, the program is designed to help supplement their income.

The Steelers have had several players earn additional salary through these programs in the past. In 2016, tackle Alejandro Villanueva and cornerback Ross Cockrell both earned additional compensation for their performances. The next year, cornerback Mike Hilton and tight end Jesse James both qualified for additional pay. In 2019, tackle Matt Feiler saw his salary almost double.

Coming in at the seventh spot on the list of the top 25 payouts is Steelers left guard Kevin Dotson. With a bonus of $746,013, Dotson saw a nice pay raise based on his $895k he was paid in 2022. Playing all 1160 offensive snaps as well as 71 on special teams, Dotson’s usage earned him the additional payout.

As for Dan Moore, he came in just behind Dotson at the ninth spot with a $739,072 payout. With one year less experience, Moore had a lower base salary for 2022 of $825k. Just like Dotson, Moore saw all 1160 snaps on offense and 71 more on special teams.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage of the Steelers 2023 offseason.

Steelers book review: “Heart and Steel” shows Bill Cowher the coach and person

Sun, 03/19/2023 - 6:30am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Taking a look at a must-read book for Steelers fans to enjoy this offseason.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a rich history, and there have been a myriad of books written about the boys in black-and-gold. Everything from the difficult days in the team’s infancy, the dynamic dynasty of the 1970s, and the success of the “Big Ben” era.

What you quickly realize is not every book written about the Steelers is created equal. Just like the 32 NFL organizations, there are some which are superior to others. What I’ve decided to do is spend some time this offseason highlighting some of the books I’ve read which stand above the others. Other contributors might chip in, but fans have wanted a list of books which are worth reading, so we’ll go one-by-one.

The next book in this series is one of former head coach Bill Cowher. Cowher’s book, title “Heart and Steel” is a must-read for any black-and-gold lunatic. Cowher’s book isn’t just about his time coaching the Steelers, but tracks his roots from the city of Pittsburgh to North Carolina State and eventually to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Here is a quick summary on the book:

In Heart and Steel, Cowher will take you on his journey from childhood to the undersized, mohawked, disco-dancing North Carolina State linebacker, to fighting for a spot as a “bubble player” with the Browns and Eagles, before injuries ended his playing career. Bill will discuss how that same drive led to his big coaching break, running Special Teams for Marty Schottenheimer and the Cleveland Browns at just twenty-seven-years-old, before taking over the Pittsburgh Steelers just seven years later. Cowher will reveal exclusive, never-before-told anecdotes and candid thoughts on the biggest games, players, and moments that defined his fifteen-year Steelers tenure.

But this is more than a “football story.”

In 2010, Bill lost his beloved wife, Kaye, and father, Laird, within three months of one another. It forced him, yet again, to summon that resiliency to unearth a stronger version of himself—not only so he could march on, but to add a deeper level to the loving, supportive father his three daughters had always known.

Cowher’s learned many lessons in his life; as a father, grandfather, husband, coach, and broadcaster. He will show you how you can continue to grow by embracing transition, personally and professionally, through renewed perspective and social consciousness.

“Billy from Crafton” has come a long way. Through love and conviction, Cowher’s achieved more than he ever could have dreamed of. You can, too, with the same heart and steel.

Cowher’s book is one of both success and tragedy, as he speaks about the death of his first wife, the loss of his parents, and the difficulty of moving on from football. This is a book where you come for the Steelers content, but leave with so much more.

If you are interested in buying this book, you can do so on Amazon by clicking HERE. I can’t recommend it enough!

Have a book you feel should be featured? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the NFL offseason.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Sun, 03/19/2023 - 5:30am

Get the latest Steel Curtain Network podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

We here at BTSC, and our podcast platform Steel Curtain Network, are here with you every step of the way as the Steelers set the stage for 2023. With so much going on, make sure you check out our ‘Podcast Roundup’ article to keep up with the latest podcasts that cover everything Steelers for your black-and-gold knowledge, curiosity and enjoyment.

With that being said and typed, have fun with the shows below with a brief description of each podcast.

The Homies: Free Agency Frenzy in the NFL mirrors the NBA in ‘23

Free Agency has always been fascinating to fans, but the 2023 version has gone so crazy that it feels like the NBA. Join host Kevin Tate and his Homie crew of Brandon “B-Dirt” Herriott, Pay Saunders & Shawn “Big-G” Gurley from the “KnoItAllz” podcast in a barbershop-type discussion about everything football. This week, the Homies discuss an Aaron Rodgers trade, a Lamar Jackson contract, JuJu getting 11 mill from the Evil Empire. and the Steelers bringing back some of their own and cutting a few.

Show Rundown:

  • Aaron Rodgers trade
  • Lamar Jackson contract
  • JuJu gets 11 million from the Evil Empire
  • AFC North FA Steelers bring back some of their own, cut a few and bring in a future Hall of Famer
  • As FA slows down what do we expect from some of the BIG names.
  • Say It with Your Chest (Pay)
  • Big G’s Burner (Shawn)
  • Doin’ em Dirty (Brandon)

Listen to the show on the player below:

State of the Steelers: Did the Steelers get better?

The Steelers have made a splash so far in free agency, but did they improve theur chances in 2023? That’s the latest topic of discussion from Daniel Jay on the State of the Steelers. Join Daniel for the latest new offering from the Steel Curtain Network family of podcasts in addressing the State of the Steelers.

Checkout a rundown of the show:

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • Does Free Agent Frequency += Getting Better?
  • Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Listen to the show on the player below:

The Steelers Week That Was: Rapid Movement edition

Take a look back at the week that was in Steel City Football with a recap of the happenings of the week with Steel Curtain Network’s Bryan Anthony Davis and Dave Schofield.

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Steelers sign guard Isaac Seumalo to a 3-year deal

Sat, 03/18/2023 - 11:28pm
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Seumalo is the second offensive lineman signed by the Steelers this offseason, both of which were drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Pittsburgh Steelers continue to make moves in free agency for the 2023 season regardless of the day and time. Late Saturday night, it was reported that the Steelers have agreed to the three-year deal with guard Isaac Seumalo.

Breaking: FA guard Isaac Seumalo has agreed to a 3-year deal with the #Steelers, source tells @theScore. One of the best guards in free agency, revered as a smart and tough player.

— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 19, 2023

Seumalo spent all seven years of his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles. Drafted in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft out of Oregon state, Seumalo started all 17 regular-season games and three postseason games and left guard. According to Pro Football Focus, Seumalo was the 10th ranked guard in the NFL last season and was an alternate for the Pro Bowl.

in seven years in Philadelphia, Seumalo has appeared in 81 regular-season games with 60 starts. Taking over as the full-time starting left guard midway through the 2018 season, injuries have been a factor in Seumalo’s career. In 2018 Seumalo missed the final three weeks of the season with a pectoral injury. After playing every game in 2019, Seumalo missed seven games in the middle of the 2020 season with a knee injury. In 2021, Seumalo suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury in Week 3. But in 2022, Seumalo started every game and played 1,137 offensive snaps in the regular season.

Isaac Seumalo is the second interior offensive lineman signed by the Steelers this week. Both Seumalo and Nate Herbig, who spent the 2022 season with the New York Jets, both originated with the Philadelphia Eagles. Steelers assistant GM Andy Weidl began his time in the Eagles front office in 2016 and is familiar with both players.

With two new interior players on the offensive line, it appears the Steelers are looking to mix things up this season. Despite playing every snap at left guard last season, Kevin Dotson looks to be fighting for playing time going into the final year of his rookie contract.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for continued coverage the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 offseason.