The Pittsburgh Steelers have work to do in order to bring back former safety Terrell Edmunds. The Steelers’ 2018 first-round selection is set to become a free agent this offseason.
But Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox called the Steelers the best fit for one of the other Edmunds brother, linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.
“[The Steelers] happen to have a potential opening for Edmunds, as Bush, Marcus Allen, Malik Reed and Robert Spillane are all scheduled to become free agents,” Knox wrote. “Linebacker Myles Jack could also become a cap casualty, as releasing him would save $8 million off the 2023 cap.
“Edmunds would be an upgrade over Jack, especially in coverage, where Jack allowed an OPR of 107.4 this past season.”
Also a first-round pick during the 2018 NFL Draft, Tremaine made two Pro Bowls while playing five seasons for the Buffalo Bills. In 2022, he recorded 102 combined tackles, including 6 for loss, 3 quarterback hits, 1.0 sack and 7 pass defenses.
How Tremaine Edmunds Fits With the Steelers
Edmunds has been floated as a potential free agent signing for the Steelers the last couple months. Signing the two-time Pro Bowler would be a popular move within the Steelers fanbase, especially if the team could re-sign his brother as well.
As Knox noted, Edmunds would fill a big hole on the Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers have been looking for a Ryan Shazier replacement since 2018, having cycled through a few veterans and youngster Devin Bush. No long-term solution has presented itself.
With Edmunds just 24 years old, he could be one of the Steelers’ starting inside linebacker for the next several years.
In all five of his NFL seasons, Edmunds has posted more than 100 combined tackles. He’s also had at least 66 solos and 4 tackles for loss every year.
In 2019, Edmunds registered a career-high 10 tackles for loss. The following season, he reached 119 combined tackles. Edmunds made the Pro Bowl in 2019 and 2020.
Overall, he has 565 combined tackles, including 32 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and 35 pass defenses in 74 career games.
Can the Steelers Afford LB Edmunds?
The big question about the Steelers signing Edmunds, though, is whether or not they can afford him. Spotrac projected the inside linebacker’s market value to be about $44 million on a four-year contract.
To offer Edmunds that kind of deal, the Steelers will have to re-work their roster. Spotrac reported on February 19 that Pittsburgh is right about at the salary cap limit.
As Knox mentioned, the Steelers could release Jack to open up $8 million in space. They could also cut quarterback Mitch Trubisky to create another $8 million against the cap.
That should allow the Steelers to sign Edmunds, but the team also has their own free agents to re-sign. Most notably, top cornerback Cameron Sutton is a free agent, and Spotrac projected his market value to be roughly $23 million on a three-year contract (about $7.6 million annually).
Defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi, linebacker Robert Spillane, safety Damontae Kazee and Edmunds’ brother are other potential unrestricted free agents the Steelers may be interested in re-signing this offseason.
And that’s just on defense. Offensively, the Steelers could re-sign tight end Zach Gentry and fullback Derek Watt. They would also need to sign a backup quarterback if they cut Trubisky.
On January 25, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac shared his doubts about the Steelers signing Edmunds.
“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.
Whether the Steelers can fit Edmunds under the salary cap remains to be seen, but as Knox argued, there’s little doubt he’s an ideal fit in the middle of the Pittsburgh defense.