The Steelers have declined their fifth-year option on the rookie contract of starting strong safety Terrell Edmunds, according to a repot by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
Edmunds remains under contract with the team through the end of the 2021, but will now be slated to become a free agent next March. The Steelers could have extended the contract through the end of the 2022 season by picking up the option.
The amount of the option, based on the average of the third to 20th highest-paid players at the safety position, would have been for $6.753 million, and by rule, all fifth-year options are guaranteed. Picking up the option would have also made guaranteed any non-guaranteed portion of Edmunds’ 2021 salary.
The Steelers and Edmunds can still work out a contract extension in the meantime before he hits free agency.
Edmunds has started 43 of a possible 48 games for the Steelers since 2018. He’s recorded 251 tackles over his three seasons, along with three interceptions and 15 passes defensed. Pro Football Focus rated him as the No. 22 safety in the NFL in 2020.
The Steelers have reportedly picked up the option of fellow starting safety and 2018 first-round draft pick Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick, who was drafted by the Miami Dolphins and traded to the Steelers in 2019, will make $10.812 million on his 2022 extension.
Only first-round draft picks are eligible for fifth-year options.
The Steelers picked up the option of 2017 first-round draft pick T.J. Watt, and he’ll be playing under that option this season, as well as 2015 first-round Bud Dupree, who played the 2019 season under the option, and defensive end Cam Heyward back in 2015.
They declined the option of 2016 first-round pick Artie Burns and 2013 first-rounder Jarvis Jones. Ryan Shazier, who was the team’s first-round pick in 2014, earned his fifth-year option in 2017, but suffered a career-ending injury before he was able to play out his option season.
The Steelers picked up the option of 2012 first-round pick David DeCastro for 2016, but signed him to a long-term contract extension before he ever played under the option.