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Playmakers Wanted! Terrell Edmunds Leaving Signals Steelers’ Want for Ballhawks



Steelers SS Terrell Edmunds

Terrell Edmunds left the Steelers to head to the Philadelphia Eagles on a relatively cheap contract that could amass up to $2.85 million in value if he hits all the incentives within the deal. However, this move has plenty of angles to look at, but one thing sticks out clearly.

The Steelers want playmakers on the back end of the defense. Terrell Edmunds is a clear starter in the NFL and can play multiple roles near the line of scrimmage as a strong safety. But make no mistake, that deal is cheap for a guy who has started for a team for five seasons like Edmunds has in Pittsburgh.

However, even after being overdrafted at 28th overall and growing into a highly serviceable player, Edmunds never put one key thing into his arsenal — ball-hawking skills. In his entire career, Edmunds has only 5 interceptions, with a career-high of two. Meanwhile, he posted only 5 pass deflections this past year. He has a lot of strengths that the Steelers will miss, but one of them will not be making plays on the football.

In the past year, the Steelers have made their needs known in the secondary. First, they brought in Patrick Peterson. Even in his late-stage career, Peterson had five interceptions and 16 pass deflections in 2022. He is a playmaker. Meanwhile, their entire secondary hosts a cast of players who have a proven history of making plays on the football.

But what is the biggest indicator of this entire philosophy? Take a look at none other than Damontae Kazee, who Pittsburgh reportedly inked for a 2-year, $6 million extension after one season. In nine games a year ago, Kazee racked up two interceptions and six pass deflections. Over his career, he has 14 interceptions.

Even if the Steelers would have liked Edmunds back, they still seemingly offered Kazee more than Edmunds on a per-year basis, and potentially, length-wise as well. It shows a certain level of value that they put in the ability to create turnovers. It’s not the wrong philosophy, either. In crunch-time football games, offense wins over defense, but when the defense wins, creating turnovers is the most important object.

So, just look at some of the guys Pittsburgh has focused on in the process. Ji’Ayir Brown out of Penn State, Devon Witherspoon out of Illinois, Emmanuel Forbes out of Mississippi State, and others. They seem to be honing in on guys that can make plays on the football. So, make no mistake when looking at this move — the Steelers value guys who can make plays on the football more than ever.

That’s always been defensive coordinator Teryl Austin’s philosophy, and it seems to be bleeding over into the team philosophy side of things. The only question is how the communication and other factors work into that with new faces coming into the secondary in 2023. Training camp and preseason will bare the hones on that side of the football. But Pittsburgh wants playmakers, and they are willing to go out and find them.

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