3 wishes for improving the Steelers in 2024
As the 2024 NFL offseason moves towards the Super Bowl, there are plenty of thoughts on how the Pittsburgh Steelers should improve their team for next season. Because I tend to be someone who looks at what the Steelers are most likely to do, it keeps my expectations in check that crazy theories and rumors will definitely come true..
Still, a guy can dream.
If I truly had my wishes of what I thought the Steelers could realistically do, or have occur, for next season I definitely have thoughts on the subject. These are more of my wishes simply because, while not impossible for them to happen, I’m not holding my breath for the Steelers to pull off such things.
With all that being said, here are my three biggest wishes for the Steelers I think could bring vast improvement to the 2024 results. To not put all my eggs in one basket, I have one for offense, one for defense, and one for coaching.
Coaching: Hire an Assistant Head Coach/ Senior Defensive Assistant
After the 2022 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers had two significant losses in the coaching ranks. One was the retirement of assistant head coach John Mitchell after coaching for the Steelers since 1993. The other was Brian Flores being hired as the Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator after serving as the Steelers senior defensive assistant coach.
The Steelers did not replace either of these positions in 2023.
If I had my wish, I would have the Steelers hire one person with both of these titles. Additionally, it would be someone to help orchestrate the front part of the Steelers defense and allow defensive coordinator Terryl Austin to focus on his strength which is the secondary.
Obviously I have someone in mind, and chances are you may have already guessed it. I want the Steelers to hire Mike Vrabel in this position.
With Vrabel not being selected for another head coaching position this offseason, I think it would be a good fit for both him and the Steelers. The only question would be if the Steelers are willing to add more coaches on the defensive side of the ball as it seems that they are looking more on offense at the moment.
Defense: Sign one of the big-name, young free agent cornerbacks
The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t always big spenders when it comes to free agency. When the biggest names hit the market, that’s not the kind of signings the Steelers generally make. Usually they get the job done to bring in somebody, but not with a large contract.
For once, I would love to see the Steelers shock everyone and pull off a move to sign a top-tier cornerback to play across from Joey Porter.
While some fans would prefer the Steelers to sign a big-name quarterback, I believe that’s just way too expensive in free agency. But spending $25 – $30 million for a two year deal with one of the top corners would be music to my ears.
Obviously, I once again have a couple players in mind. The two that jump out to me are Jaylon Johnson and L’Jarius Sneed. Both are coming off their rookie contracts and they will be 25 and 27 respectively when the season rolls around. There are other possibilities, but those have the two that jump out at me.
Offense: Getting an unprecedented jump from Kenny Pickett
I could have gone more general and said top-notch quarterback play, but I decided to be a little more specific. While some may ask why am saying Kenny Pickett and not Mason Rudolph, one reason is because I think there’s more potential there. As to why I would rather see Kenny Pickett rather than the Steelers bring in an outside free agent, they are expensive. To not destroy the Steelers salary cap for another year, the best thing that could happen would be for Kenny Pickett to become an elite quarterback this season while still having another year on his rookie deal before the fifth-year option. Although some would like the Steelers to spend $42 million a season for two years on the likes of Kirk Cousins, I would much rather see Kenny Pickett and his $4.2 million per season over the next two season play at that high of a level.
Of course the Kenny Pickett haters out there will tell me I’m dreaming, and the Kenny Pickett lovers will tell me how they expect this to happen. As is usually the case, I’m somewhere in the middle and simply want to see Kenny Pickett get the same boost in his career with Arthur Smith as the offense coordinator that Ryan Tannehill saw in Tennessee. It might not be possible, but it would mean so much to the Steelers if it happened.
So there are my three wishes for the Pittsburgh Steelers that I think could really set them over the edge for next season. You might not agree with them or wish things would be completely different, and that’s fine. These are my wishes and I’m sticking with them. If only one of them could happen it would make me so excited, but seeing all three would have me looking at the sky being the limit for the 2024 Steelers.