4 ways the Steelers have failed during the early free agency

Mike Hilton Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Mike Hilton Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Tyson Alualu #94 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Losing Alualu

Had anyone told me last year that I would be mourning the loss of an elderly nose tackle in Tyson Alualu, I would have laughed at them. Alualu was coming off a fine season, but with him attempting to switch positions as well as his age, losing him wouldn’t have seemed like a huge deal. Then he actually played in 2020, and he easily had the best season of his career.

Alualu may have only played 44 percent of the defensive snaps, but when on the field he was the best run-stopper along the defensive line. While his play did decline after he was injured, he was still playing at a level most thought he wouldn’t. Alualu transitioned roles seamlessly, and it made the Steelers defense as dominant as it was at the beginning of the season. While rookie Carlos Davis flashed some potential, he has a long way to go before being counted on being a starter.

Worse yet, Alualu is only set to count for 2.3 million against the Jaguars cap in 2021. While regression is a risk at his age, all signs from his 2020 season indicate that he will provide a great run-stopping presence to this line. His charge wasn’t extremely expensive, and given the Steelers still had ways to create cap space, losing Alualu is extremely disappointing.