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Steelers May Have Tough Decision on Pat Freiermuth Extension



Steelers TE Pat Freiermuth
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 23, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers generally negotiate contracts with players that they’d like to extend for long-term contracts before the reach the final season of their current deal. That means that this offseason, Omar Khan and Pat Freiermuth and his representation might be getting together.

Freiermuth, the team’s second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is up for a such a conversation for the first time in his career, as he is entering the fourth and final season of his rookie contract. He acknowledged that it’s on his radar for this offseason, but said he’s not focusing on that right now.

“I love Pittsburgh, I want to play the rest of my career here, but that’s not really what I’m thinking about right now,” he said on locker clean-out day on Tuesday. “I’m thinking about this past season and where I can grow.”

Like most of the rest of the Pittsburgh offense, it was a tough season for Freiermuth. He missed five games with a hamstring injury, the first significant time out of the lineup in his career, and his stats tumbled on both an overall and a per-game basis.

Freiermuth finished the season with 32 catches for 308 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 25.7 yards per game. In 2022, he caught 63 passes for 732 yards and two touchdowns — a 45.8 yards per game average.

The downtown in performance makes for a tough evaluation when it comes to Freiermuth’s place in the NFL tight end marketplace. Most of the reasons for the Steelers overall offensive downturn, chiefly uncertainty at offensive coordinator and quarterback, are likely more to blame for Freiermuth’s lack of production than anything that he has failed to do.

Film Room: Pat Freiermuth Solving Steelers Problems (+)

But there is no time to make further evaluations. The Steelers don’t negotiate contracts in-season, so if they are going to extend Freiermuth, it will have to happen this offseason.

If no deal is reached, Freiermuth will hit the open market in the spring of 2025.