ESPN has released their rankings of the top 50 free agents entering this offseason, and two current Pittsburgh Steelers were included.
Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was the higher ranked Steeler clocking in at No. 42 on the list.
Given his recent injury history and lack of production, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert believes Smith-Schuster could be in for another rude awakening when he hits free agency this offseason.
“If Smith-Schuster was disappointed with the interest he received on the market last offseason, what will he think now after a shoulder injury limited him to five game,” Seifert writes. “He is now three seasons removed from his lone 1,000-yard season and has averaged 8.6 yards per reception over the past two years.”
Still, Seifert believes Smith-Schuster’s experience and catching passes from a physically depleted Ben Roethlisberger will result in him being graded on a curve.
Smith-Schuster caught just 15 passes for 129 yards this past season. He did rush for a score.
The second Steeler on ESPN’s rankings is safety Terrell Edmunds at No. 50.
While Seifert believes Edmunds is coming off the best season of his career, he thinks the team’s other priorities will preclude them from resigning him.
“Edmunds is not the most well-known of the Steelers’ starting safeties, and he’s not the most talented, either,” Seifert writes. “But he had his best season in 2021, starting all 17 games and setting a career-high with eight tackles-for-loss. Even so, the Steelers might not be able to clear up much cap space to re-sign Edmunds, assuming they want to re-sign (Minkah) Fitzpatrick next year.”
Originally selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Pittsburgh actually declined Edmunds’ fifth-year option last offseason.
The 25-year-old totaled 89 combined tackles, six passes defended, two interceptions and a sack in 2021.