One of the more popular names floated as a possible free agent addition for the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason has been linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.
His brother, Terrell, has played for the Steelers the last five years. Although he’s also a pending free agent, Terrell could easily re-sign with the Steelers, and the narrative has been that he could bring his brother with him.
The fit makes sense. Pittsburgh is badly in need of a linebacker to man the middle of its defense as Tremaine has with the Buffalo Bills the last few years.
Despite the match seemingly made in heaven, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac is not at all confident the Steelers will be able to sign Tremaine in free agency.
“The Steelers will not be in the market to add another brother tandem to their locker room, not with the money amounts they have already tossed around on their defense,” wrote Dulac.
That report should be quite disappointing to Steelers fans and media alike. On January 10, radio host Andrew Fillipponi of 93.7 The Fan tweeted that the Tremaine signing with the Steelers “seems like a done deal.”
But instead of adding the Bills linebacker, Dulac predicted the Steelers to use what little free agency funds they have to try and re-sign the unrestricted free agents they possess on defense.
In addition to Terrell, cornerback Cam Sutton, defensive end Larry Ogunjobi, linebacker Robert Spillane and safety Damontae Kazee are set to hit the open market in March.
Steelers Signing Tremaine ‘Not Feasible’
In five seasons with the Bills, Tremaine became a playmaker on a great defense. He’s recorded at least 100 tackles in all of his NFL seasons. In 2019, Tremaine posted a career-high 10 tackles for loss.
He’s also had at least 7 pass defenses in three of his five seasons. Tremaine made the Pro Bowl in 2019 and 2020.
With that kind of resume, Tremaine will be one of the top inside linebackers available in free agency this March. Spotrac projected his market value to be $11 million on a four-year contract worth a total of about $44 million.
Dulac projected that to be too expensive for the Steelers, who have spent a lot of money on their defense in recent years and are over the 2023 salary cap as of January 26.
“While the Steelers have a history of filling their locker room with brother tandems, this one is not very feasible,” Dulac wrote. “Despite a poor performance in Sunday’s playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Tremaine Edmunds will be considered one of the top free agents on the market and command a contract the Steelers — with the highest defensive payroll in the league — cannot afford.”
Steelers to Re-Sign Terrell Edmunds?
While Dulac argued the Steelers can’t afford the Bills inside linebacker, he didn’t portray Pittsburgh’s salary cap situation as completely gloomy.
The Steelers can open up almost $30 million in cap space by cutting cornerback William Jackson, quarterback Mitch Trubisky and linebacker Myles Jack. If general manager Omar Khan elects to make some or all of those cuts, the Steelers will have some space to re-sign a few of their pending free agents.
Dulac predicted Khan to prioritize Sutton and Ogunjobi prior to free agency. After that, the Steelers should also be interested in re-signing Terrell.
The Steelers declined picking up Terrell’s fifth-year option two years ago, but they re-signed him to a one-year deal in free agency last offseason.
Terrell returning to Pittsburgh again wouldn’t surprise Dulac. But his brother coming too would.