Is Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt underrated or overrated?

Stephon Tuitt #91 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Stephon Tuitt #91 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

With all the tools, but a lack of sack production, is Steelers defensive linemen Stephon Tuitt underrated or overrated?

I’ve heard a lot of mixed opinion on how valuable Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman, Stephon Tuitt, is to the team. While some believe he’s just a big body that doesn’t produce at a high level, there are others who think Stephon Tuitt does more for the team than most fans realize.

I’m going to attempt to walk both lines here, then give my thoughts on how I view Stephon Tuitt:


Though the Steelers made Stephon Tuitt the 3rd highest paid player on the team, the big defensive lineman has yet to live up to his lucrative extension. Restructuring Tuitt’s contract put the Steelers in a bad position.

Tuitt is costing the Steelers over $13.6M each of the next three seasons. Pittsburgh would like to spend that money on a more productive player, but a poor contract makes Tuitt completely unmovable. If the Steelers were to cut Tuitt, it would result in nearly $19.0M of dead money and Pittsburgh would take a $5.3M loss in cap space just to ditch him this year.

Tuitt is constantly banged up and hasn’t started more than 14 games in a single season over the course of 5 years in the NFL. His lackluster sack total indicates that he isn’t worth a fraction of the money, as evidenced by his 8.5 sacks over the past 26 games.


It’s true that Stephon Tuitt’s numbers aren’t where we would like to see them, but his impact goes beyond mere statistics.

Stephon Tuitt is a long, strong defensive lineman who rarely gets jolted off the line of scrimmage. He was a huge reason why the Steelers held the 5th best run defense in the league in 2018.

When Tuitt was out of the lineup for two games this year against Jacksonville and Denver, the Jaguars rushed for 179 yards and the Broncos gained 124 yards on the ground. Much of the same happened when Tuitt was off the field for four games in 2017.

Pro Football Focus acknowledges Tuitt’s value, as he earned a more than respectable 81.8 grade this past season – good for the 21st best defensive lineman in the league. They also wrote an article last season praising Stephon Tuitt and teammate, Cameron Heyward, last season as one of the top pass-rushing duos in the league.

My take on Tuitt

Though it is truly hard to justify the massive contract numbers given to Tuitt, he is a solid centerpiece of the Steelers defense. Tuitt’s impact doesn’t always show up in the box score, but the team is just better when he is on the field.

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Tuitt just turned 26 years old on May 23rd, and has a bright future ahead of him. He was nursing an elbow injury that put a dampener on his 2018 season. If he can be fully healthy this year, perhaps we will see the player we thought he could be as a former 20-year old coming out of Notre Dame.