The Pittsburgh Steelers have agreed to sign free agent safety Damontae Kazee on a one-year contract for the 2022 season, according to a report by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
Kazee, 28, spent the 2021 season with the Dallas Cowboys, after playing his first four NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He was a fifth-round pick for the Falcons in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Kazee played sparingly as a rookie, but quickly moved into a starting role for Atlanta in his second season in 2018. That year, he set career highs in tackles with 82, passes defended with 10 and seven interceptions, which also led the NFL.
He continued as Atlanta’s starter through the next three seasons, but tore his Achilles tendon in Week 4 of the 2020 season. He entered free agency in 2021 and signed with the Cowboys, where helped rejuvenate the Dallas defense in 2021.
Kazee started 15 games with the Cowboys and recorded 52 tackles, two interceptions, four passes defended and two forced fumbles, while playing for Dallas defensive coordinator, who was his first head coach with the Falcons.
The Steelers have also re-signed incumbent strong safety Terrell Edmunds on a one-year contract for the 2022 season. It’s unclear what the team’s plans are regarding Kazee and Edmunds, and how they might share time.
Kazee can play multiple positions in the secondary. According to Pro Football Focus, he has played 2,393 career snaps as a free safety, 336 snaps as an in-the-box safety, and 315 as a slot cornerback.
All-Pro Minkah Fitzpatrick is expected to start for the Steelers at the free safety spot. Promising second-year man Tre Norwood and veteran backups Karl Joseph and Miles Killebrew are the other safeties on the team’s offseason roster.
The team did not add a safety in the 2022 NFL Draft, which wrapped up on Saturday evening.