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The Perfect Offseason Plan for the Pittsburgh Steelers

The 2024 NFL league year is just days away, with free agency officially opening up on Wednesday. Before the legal tampering period begins, it is time to reveal my perfect offseason plan for the Pittsburgh Steelers in an exciting, but slightly satirical, form that will have you either laughing in the isles or floating away in fantasy land.

This article is sure to get feedback, most of which will be of the negative sort. As a disclaimer, this is not in any way based on what I am hearing from insiders and analysts, nor is it what I think the Steelers will actually do. This is my way of sharing everything I would do this offseason in one concise article and explaining how all of it is “feasible.”

This is also a basic, layman’s terms outlook. This will simply show contract totals, signing bonuses, and how much each contract will count against the cap each season, in order to make it fit this year’s cap. They will also not be exact numbers, but rather rounded numbers.

Disclaimer 1: Unlike my mock drafts, this is an exercise showing what I would like to see done this offseason, not necessarily what I think will happen this offseason. This is just for fun, and I realize that the vast majority of these recommended moves will not happen.

Disclaimer 2: Not everyone is going to love these ideas, but that’s okay This is my own fantasy bubble, and there ain’t room for all y’all in it anyway!

Disclaimer 3: If you struggle with incontinuity, do not read this. I am the GM for the day, and the lack of continuity in the team-building below could cause major side-effects, such as trouble swallowing, vomiting, and endless crying for Kevin Colbert to return. Continuity my heinie!!!

This is going to be a straight-to-the-point synopsis, moving from one roster move to the next. So fasten your seatbelts, Steelers fans! Here is every move you should be praying the Steelers make this offseason.

Current Cap Space

Approximately $11,000,000


In this business, life is life. Feelings have to be hurt. To Mykal, Chapelle, and Renell, thank you for your brief contributions to the Black and Gold, but perhaps the UFL may be the best place to venture next. Armon and Montravius, you both provided depth to a position which lacked such just one year ago, but it is time to seek new heights in different cities. Montravius, you provided great moments the past couple years, but after slight regression, it is in the best interest of both you and us to split up. To the special teams standouts, James and Myles, you will be missed, but upside for every party involved is higher by moving forward in a new direction. Last but not least, I must address Rudolph, the red-zone QB. You endured through bad blocking, flippant fans, pundit puke, and Myles Helmet, yet you provided much excitement for us down the stretch this incredible season. Your commitment has earned you a paycheck, but with a different team. Best wishes on a new start.

Free Agency

Montravius Adams
Levi Wallace
Armon Watts
James Pierre
Chandon Sullivan
Blake Martinez
Myles Boykin
Mason Rudolph
Mykal Walker
Chapelle Russell
Renell Wren

Roster Cuts

Allen Robinson (cap savings: $10,000,000)
Patrick Peterson (cap savings: $6,850,000)
Damontae Kazee (cap savings: $3,000,000)
Isaiahh Loudermilk (cap savings: $1,055,000)
Luq Barcoo (cap savings: $985,000)
Dez Fitzpatrick (cap savings: $985,000)
Thomas Graham, Jr. (cap savings: $985,000)
Dylan Cook (cap savings: $915,000)
Nate Meadors (cap savings: $915,000)
Jalen Elliott (cap savings: $915,000)

Total Cap Savings: $26,605,000
Updated Cap Space: $37,605,000

Trade Away

In this exercise, we are sending wide receiver Diontae Johnson to the Tennessee Titans for their second round pick (38th overall). Tennessee gets a savvy veteran receiver for their young quarterback, and Johnson gets a fresh start in a system which will likely give him greater opportunity to be the WR1. With former Tennessee OC Arthur Smith coming into town, schematic changes are about to be made. If the Steelers had made this trade two years ago, the team would have likely generated a greater return, but an early second-round pick is still great value.

Cap Savings: $10,000,000
Updated Cap Space: $47,605,000


We are restructuring the contract of Larry Ogunjobi, converting $3.5 million of his 2024 base salary into signing bonus, pushing that money to the 2025 cap. We are also restructuring the contract of Alex Highsmith, converting approximately $7 million of his 2024 base salary into signing bonus, with the cap hit being spread out over the next three seasons as follows: 2025- additional $2 million, 2026- additional $2 million, 2027- additional $3 million.

Cap Savings: Approximately $10,500,000
Updated Cap Space: Approximately $58,105,000

Free Agency

Trade For

Yes, I am a big fan of bringing in Justin Fields. In this exercise, the Steelers trade away their original second round pick (Pick 51) in exchange for the Bears quarterback, who will be extremely affordable in 2024. Once again, feelings must take a back seat. Kenny Pickett could very well be a solid starting quarterback in the NFL, but in an atrocious scheme and environment, Justin Fields has proven to be be better than solid when healthy. He simply provides higher upside, and his dual-threat ability adds an extra dimension to the Steelers offense. He will have just as good an offensive line in Pittsburgh, if not better, and his supporting cast of weapons will not be any worse than he had in Chicago either. Getting a top-12 NFL quarterback and not even giving up a first-round pick is a steal, especially considering the price of the contract.

We will take on his full 2024 cap hit, which is just over $6,000,000. We will also pick up his fifth-year option, which will be at $22,000,000. This is still a reasonable number for a quarterback on the rise. He will give us a chance to continue building the roster around him and getting in prime position to make a Super Bowl run in 2025.

2024 Cap Hit: Approximately $6,005,000
Remaining Cap Space: Approximately $52,100,000

Welcome Back!

Miles Killebrew
2 Years, $4.5 million
Year 1- $2.5 million
Year 2- $2 million
Kwon Alexander
1 Year, $2 million
Markus Golden
1 Year, $1.5 million
Elijah Riley
1 Year, $1 million

2024 Cap Hit: $7,000,000
Remaining Cap Space:
Approximately $45,100,000

Greetings and Salutations!

Chase Young, DE — 4 Years, $48 Million
$16 million in signing bonus ($4M pro-rated each year)

Cap hits by year:
2024- $8,000,000
2025- $13,000,000
2026- $13,000,000
2027- $14,000,000

After being hampered with injuries in 2021 and 2022, Young remained relatively healthy in 2023, being traded mid-season to San Francisco. His role changes in Pittsburgh, however, as he will be groomed to replace Cameron Heyward as a 5-technique defensive lineman. He may need to bulk up a little more, but he has the ideal frame for the position, and many people believe that is the role Mike Tomlin saw for him coming out of college. We know the Steelers love to circle back to players they loved in the pre-draft process, and Young is certainly one of those players. This could actually be a possible signing for the Steelers in real life.

Tyler Boyd, WR — 2 Years, $15 million
$6 million in signing bonus ($3M pro-rated each year)

Cap hits by year:
2024- 5,000,000
2025- 10,000,000

Boyd is not the most attractive signing, but he will be a cheaper, younger alternative to Allen Robinson, while still providing leadership to a young receiver room. He is an ideal fit for Arthur Smith’s offense as a physical slot receiver, and he alleviates the loss of Diontae Johnson.

Willie Gay, Jr., ILB — 3 Years, $21 million
$9 million in signing bonus ($3M pro-rated each year)

Cap hits by year:
2024- $4,000,000
2025- $7,000,000
2026- $10,000,000

Gay had off-field concerns coming into the NFL, but outside of one relatively minor hiccup, his professional career has been clean. Not to mention, his play on the field is quite impressive, as he has been a key part of the Chiefs’ upward-trending defense. He will provide us with immediate speed and elite athleticism in the middle of a defense which has lacked such since the injury to Ryan Shazier. He is the piece the Steelers need to go to the next level as a defense.

Sean Murphy-Bunting, CB — 2 Years, $12 million
$4 million in signing bonus ($2M pro-rated each year)

Cap hits by year:
2024- $4,000,000
2025- $8,000,000

The recent release of several starting cornerbacks around the league will slightly affect Bunting’s value on the open market, but time and time again, he has proven to be a quality CB2. Tennessee was a schematic mess in 2023, and in Tampa Bay, they could not afford to keep him and their other young cornerbacks. He was simply the odd man out, but in Pittsburgh, he would be the perfect fit across from budding superstar Joey Porter, Jr. This would be an underrated, yet vital, free-agent signing that keeps the Steelers from having to draft another corner and pair a second-year pro with a rookie on the perimeter.

Mitch Morse, C — 1 Year, $6 million
Morse’s best days may be behind him, but he is certainly a quality starter in the short-term. He would be an ideal bridge as the team looks to find its long-term answer at the position.

Terrell Edmunds, S — 1 Year, $2 million
The Steelers realize the error they made last offseason by letting Edmunds walk, but just one year later, both parties realize they are best when they are together. The Steelers once again have a viable option at strong safety!

Kindle Vildor, CB — 1 Year, $2 million
Vildor is silently one of the better slot corners in the NFL. The numbers may not always show it, but he finds away to make life difficult for quality NFL receivers. He would be a major upgrade from Chandon Sullivan.

2024 Cap Hit: $31,000,000
Updated Cap Space: Approximately $14,100,000

The Draft

Note: These wishes are subject to, and most likely to, change by draft day.

Round 1- Amarius Mims | OT | Georgia
We can have our hole at right tackle “filled” with Dan Moore going into the draft, but it will not be long before Mims takes the right tackle job. In an absolute, but unlikely, dream, Taliese Fuaga falls to us at Pick 20. It is time to move Broderick Jones to the left side and find a true right tackle.

Round 2 (via trade with Titans)- Xavier Legette | WR | South Carolina
Legette is a thickly built receiver with the speed to burn and the body control to win on contested catches down the field. His change-of-direction speed is also above average for a receiver his size. He may be a one-year wonder, but he’s shown enough to sell me on his upside. He is an ideal fit for Arthur Smith’s offense.

Round 3- Sedrick Van Pran | C | Georgia
Van Pran’s arm length will scare some off, but despite popular belief following the combine, Van Pran is an explosive athlete who has a rare blend of quickness and power. His stock has dropped lower than I ever imagined it would, but that only benefits the Steelers. While arm length is concerning, he did not show signs of struggling with lengthier defenders in college. If he overcomes that potential hindrance (as I believe he will), he has All-Pro potential. His tape is fantastic.

Round 4a- Ainias Smith | WR | Texas A&M
Another wide receiver? This may seem a little overkill, but Smith’s versatility to line up as a receiver or as a running back boosts his value. His quickness and twitchiness in the open field make him difficult to cover 1-on-1. He will push Calvin Austin for a Kalif Raymond-type role in Arthur Smith’s offense.

Round 4b- Jonah Elliss | EDGE | Utah
Very similar to Nate Herbig in many ways, Elliss has a natural feel for getting after the quarterback. He has the bloodlines, motor, and production that project him to be a productive pass rusher in the NFL.

Round 6- Will Shipley | RB | Clemson
Sometimes, running backs fall through the cracks, and in this case, it may be someone who was once a projected early-round pick. Shipley has been the unfortunate beneficiary of Clemson’s recent mediocrity, as the team has not been under the national spotlight. Nonetheless, he provides high upside as a depth running back who still needs to develop his skills as a pass blocker and receiver.

Round 7- Tip Reiman | TE | Illinois
Reiman was hardly used as a receiving entity in college, but his athleticism is enough to make one think he is capable of more in that department at the next level. Arthur Smith likes his tight ends, which is why adding another one late makes sense.

Priority UDFA- LaDarius Henderson | OT/G | Michigan
Still in need of depth at tackle, the Steelers add LaDarius Henderson, who transferred to Michigan from Arizona State and was a key part of Michigan’s success in the trenches. His versatility gives the Steelers another viable option at either tackle or guard.

Other UDFAs: Ryan Rehkow | P | BYU, Layden Robinson | G | Texas A&M, Cody Schrader | RB | Missouri, Malik Mustapha | S | Wake Forest, Jaylen Harrell | EDGE | Michigan, Kedon Slovis | QB | BYU, Lideatrick Griffin | WR | Mississippi State, Baylor Cupp | TE | Texas Tech

*The average draft class requires around $5 million of cap space, plus extra later on to account for all 53 players on the roster and signing the practice squad.

2024 Cap Hit: Approximately $5,000,000
Updated Cap Space: Approximately $9,100,000

Second Wave Free Agency

Eddie Jackson, S — 2 Years, $7 Million
$2 million in signing bonus ($1M pro-rated each year)

Cap hits by year:
2024- $2,500,000
2025- $4,500,000

Jackson has been on a downward trend the last two seasons, but a change of scenery may be what he needs. Ever since Matt Eberflus came in with a new scheme, he has struggled to find his niche. In Pittsburgh, he can revive his career as versatile safety who can move around freely and focus on making splash plays. He may be one of the bigger names still available in the second wave of free agency.

Carson Wentz, QB — 1 Year, $2 million
We saw Baker Mayfield resurrect his career after sitting under the tutelage of Sean McVay. Perhaps the same can happen to Wentz, who will sit behind Fields and Pickett as QB3.

Mac McCain III, CB — 1 Year, $1 million
Most will look at McCain as a camp body or potential special teamer, but he has the capability of playing quality reps on the outside as well.

Benito Jones, Jr., DT (RFA) — 1 Year, $1 million
Jones is a high-energy nose tackle with a great motor. If Detroit does not bring him back, he would be a nice depth signing in the short-term.

2024 Cap Hit: $6,500,000
Remaining Cap Space: Approximately $2,600,000

53-man roster

Quarterback (3): Justin Fields, Kenny Pickett, Carson Wentz
Running Back (4): Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Connor Heyward, Will Shipley
Wide Receiver (6): George Pickens, Tyler Boyd, Xavier Legette, Calvin Austin III, Ainias Smith, Denzel Mims
Tight End (3): Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, Tip Reiman
Offensive Line (9): Broderick Jones, James Daniels, Mitch Morse, Isaac Seumalo, Amarius Mims, Dan Moore, Jr., Sedrick Van Pran, Nate Herbig, LaDarius Henderson
Defensive Line (6): Cameron Heyward, Chase Young, Larry Ogunjobi, Keeanu Benton, Benito Jones, Jr., DeMarvin Leal
Outside Linebacker (5): T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Markus Golden, Nick Herbig, Jonah Elliss
Inside Linebacker (5): Willie Gay, Jr., Elandon Roberts, Cole Holcomb, Kwon Alexander, Mark Robinson
Cornerback (5): Joey Porter, Jr., Sean Murphy-Bunting, Kindle Vildor, Cory Trice, Darius Rush
Safety (4): Minkah Fitzpatrick, Eddie Jackson, Terrell Edmunds, Miles Killebrew
Special Teams (3): Chris Boswell, Ryan Rehkow, Christian Kuntz

Practice Squad: WR Marquez Callaway, DT Jonathan Marshall, CB Mac McCain, S Elijah Riley, LB Jeremiah Moon, S Trenton Thompson, LB Kyron Johnson, QB Kedon Slovis, OL Spencer Anderson, OL Layden Robinson, CB Kalon Barnes, RB Cody Schrader, OL Joey Fisher, EDGE Jaylen Harrell, WR Lideatrick Griffin, TE Baylor Cupp

There you have it, Steelers fans! Everything you could possibly get out of one offseason to become an immediate contender. What are your thoughts on this fun, fanatical exercise filled with fantasies and fortunes? Which moves did you like the most? Which moves do you think make the most sense? Could any of these come to fruition? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!


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