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State of the Steelers: 2022 Free Agents

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The 2021 NFL season officially came to a close with the Los Angeles Rams’ victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI on Sunday night.

With that, the 2022 offseason is on deck, with what is expected to be a slate full of significant changes for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are interviewing candidates for a new general manager, have already replaced defensive coordinator Keith Butler with Teryl Austin, and will spend most of the rest of the offseason with the top priority being replacing retired quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

To start the offseason, Steelers Now is taking a look at the state of the team, from free agency, to the salary cap, to the draft, and the current status of the 90-man offseason roster.

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First up, we’ll take a look at the team’s pending free agents.

All players remain under contract with their 2021 team until the new league year begins at 4 p.m. on March 16. But some important steps will take place before then.

Teams must decide before 4 p.m. on March 8 whether or not to use a franchise or transition player tag on a pending free agent. Players hit with a franchise tag will be automatically tendered a contract of the average of the top five salaries at their position from the previous year. Transition players are tendered a contract worth the average of the top 10 salaries at their position the previous season.


The Steelers have both available to them this offseason. They haven’t used a tag on a player since Bud Dupree played the 2020 season under the franchise tag.

Pending free agents that aren’t tagged can be contacted by other teams through their agents starting at noon on March 14, in what’s known as a legalized tampering period. Players are not able to sign new contracts until the start of the new league year on the March 16, and are not supposed to agree to terms with a new team during the contact. Any agreement made between a team and an agent during the contact period is unofficial and either side can walk away from it without penalty.

Teams are allowed to have direct contact with, and officially re-sign, their own free agents in this time period.

Teams have up until the start of the new league year to tender contracts to players that are restricted or exclusive-rights free agents, so they are not eligible to be contacted during the legal tampering period.

Here are the Steelers pending 2022 free agents:

2022 STEELERS UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

QB Ben Roethlisberger

QB Joshua Dobbs

RB Kalen Ballage

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
WR James Washington

WR Ray-Ray McCloud

TE Eric Ebron

C/G B.J. Finney
RG Trai Turner
RT Chukwuma Okorafor

DT Montravius Adams
OLB Taco Charlton

SS Terrell Edmunds
SS Miles Killebrew

CB Joe Haden
CB Ahkello Witherspoon
NB Arthur Maulet

STEELERS 2022 RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

Restricted free agents can be offered a varied tender, trading cost for the return if another team signs them away. The team has reportedly already decided to place an original-round tender on quarterback Dwayne Haskins for approximately $2.5 million. They would have right of first refusal if he agrees to a contract with another team, and would be given a first-round draft pick in compensation if he leaves, because Haskins was originally a first-round draft pick.

QB Dwayne Haskins
ILB Marcus Allen (originally fifth-round pick)
ILB Robert Spillane (originally undrafted)

STEELERS 2022 EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS

These players must return to the Steelers if the team offers them at least an NFL-minimum contract for 2022.

C/G J.C. Hassenauer
DT Demarcus Christmas

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Full series:

2022 State of the Steelers

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