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First and 10: Can We Stop Talking about Wins When Evaluating Players?

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Steelers Colbert Fitzpatrick

The are some players on the football field that can have an outsized impact on his team’s success in winning and losing: quarterbacks, mostly, but some running backs and some defenders. Most of the rest of the players are just contributing their 1/22nd to the team’s output, and no matter how good or bad they may be, they have little ability to turn a win into a loss or vice versa.

Most of the reaction to the Steelers signing Minkah Fitzpatrick to a record-breaking contract has been positive. The reaction that has been negative has mostly been to point out that the Steelers have spent a lot of money to keep T.J. Watt, Cam Heyward and Minkah Fitzpatrick on a defensive that hasn’t won anything of note.

That’s true, they haven’t. Even as good as those three are, they can’t win alone. We saw last year that they can’t even have an above-average defense alone, as injuries on the line and poor play at inside linebacker combined to cause the Steelers to finish 20th in scoring defense and 24th in yards allowed.

There were positives, giving up the seventh-fewest touchdowns, while forcing many more points to come by field goal. They were in the middle of the road in takeaways and first in sacks. It adds up to a below-average unit.

That doesn’t mean that Fitzpatrick, Watt and Heyward aren’t really good players. It just means the Steelers didn’t have enough of them, and choosing not to re-sign All-Pro players in the prime of their career generally doesn’t help make the team better.

It can be argued that spending that much money on positions that can’t impact the game that much in a hard-capped league isn’t wise, and that’s probably true to some extent. But the Steelers have money to spend on defensive players because they don’t have a franchise quarterback and they don’t have a way to get one any time soon.

If Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett turn out to be one, they’ll get paid somewhere down the line. There aren’t any better options available to them. In the mean time, the Steelers have cap space to try to keep the strong parts of their team intact and should be doing just that.

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STEELERS HEADLINES

🏈 Minkah Fitzpatrick “Excited” to Work with Brian Flores Again after Miami Exit, Nick Farabaugh

🏈 Fitzpatrick Deal Saves Steelers $2.5M in 2022 Salary Cap Space, Alan Saunders

🏈 ‘Commitment to Winning’ Made Minkah Fitzpatrick Want to Stay with SteelersFarabaugh

🏈 Steelers Set New Standard for Player Participation During Contract NegotiationsSaunders

🏈 Steelers Wanted to Get Minkah Fitzpatrick Deal Done before Training CampFarabaugh

🏈 Who’s Next? What Does Fitzpatrick Contract Mean for Steelers Johnson, BoswellFarabaugh

🏈 How the Minkah Fitzpatrick Deal Favors Steelers Salary Cap, Future PlansChris Carter

🏈 Colin Cowherd Rips Fitzpatrick Deal, Questions Steelers StandardWard

🏈 Four Steelers on CBS Sports Top 100 List for 2022Chris Ward

🏈 Ex-Steelers Hoge, Bettis to Host Golf Outing for Chuck Noll Foundation, Ward

🏈 Steelers All 90: QB Mitch Trubisky, WR Chase ClaypoolSaunders

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TODAY’S STEELERS SCHEDULE

The team still has one unsigned pick remaining from the 2022 NFL Draft: QB Kenny Pickett. Austin Bechtold

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