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First and 10: Steelers Better Prepared for Tuitt’s Absence Than in 2021

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Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt announced his retirement on Wednesday, the second Steelers veteran in two seasons to decide to retire after the team had reported to the South Side for offseason training, following Vince Williams, who retired last season.

Williams’ retirements a year ago seemed to catch the Steelers off guard, and combined with the injury-related end of David DeCastro’s career, set the team back.The club was forced to grab last-minute replacements in Trai Turner and Joe Schobert, to middling results.

This year, it doesn’t seem that the Steelers will be in a similar situation. The Steelers had played all of 2021 without Tuitt at any rate, after he missed the season following the death of his brother and a knee injury. So they won’t need to replace any production lost from the 2021 season. The defensive line was also without Tyson Alualu in 2021, and he will be returning after missing almost all of the season with an injury.

But almost the whole rest of the 2021 defensive line returns, including Pro Bowler Cam Heyward, fill-in starters Chris Wormley and backups Carlos Davis, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Henry Mondeaux and others. In addition to that, the Steelers re-signed backup nose tackle Montravius Adams and used their third-round pick to add defensive end DeMarvin Leal.

The Steelers don’t use draft picks in the first two days of the draft on spots where they don’t have a need very often. Of Kevin Colbert’s final five drafts, just three picks out of 15 were not direct replacements for a departed starter.

It seems pretty likely that the Steelers either knew that Tuitt would be retiring, or at least considered it a strong possibility by the time of the 2022 NFL Draft, if not earlier. While there are free agents available, the team probably shouldn’t feel a strong impetus to make a desperation move. The team still has unproven starters at tackle and has depth issues at running back and outside linebacker, among other spots.

On the defensive line, things aren’t necessarily hunky dory, but with Alualu back and the addition of Leal, the Steelers are in a much better position to deal with Tuitt’s absence, even without making another move.

STEELERS HEADLINES

🏈 Stephon Tuitt Replacement Options: Chris Wormley, Larry Ogunjobi?Chris Carter

🏈 Stephon Tuitt Retirement Gives Steelers $9M in Salary Cap Space, Alan Saunders

🏈 Steelers Players React to Stephon Tuitt’s Retirement, Cale Berger

🏈 Steelers Sign OLB Tuzar Skipper for Third Time, Saunders

🏈 Steelers OTA Takeaways: Jack, Bush form ILB DuoCarter

🏈 Steelers Offensive Line Likes Coaching Approach of Pat Meyer, Carter

🏈 Report: Steelers Working Out FA OLBs Harris, Odenigbo, Ray, Saunders

🏈 The Steelers Defense is Excited to Play for Brian Flores, Nick Farabaugh

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TODAY’S STEELERS SCHEDULE

The Steelers will resume OTAs with practice session six of 10 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side. Saunders, Carter, Farabaugh, Ed Thompson

The team still has not signed two of its seven draft picks from the 2022 NFL Draft: QB Kenny Pickett and WR Calvin Austin III. Bechtold

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