4 notable Steelers likely playing their final year in 2021

JuJu Smith-Schuster Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
JuJu Smith-Schuster Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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Joe Haden #23 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images) /

Steelers Joe Haden

Joe Haden has easily been one of the best Steelers free agent additions during the Kevin Colbert era. After the Browns released him, the team was quick to bring him in and give him a contract. Since then, he has been a major reason that this secondary has taken the turnaround that it finally did. After years of mediocrity, this unit has become one of the NFL’s better groups. While there are plenty of stars in this group, finally getting a capable starting corner was the turning point this group needed.

Now though, Haden is entering his age 32 season and he is set to be a free agent next year. While the team could certainly try and bring him back, age does appear to be catching up with him. While never an elite athlete, Haden looked a step slower last year. He was fine in coverage, but some of the more athletic receivers really became mismatches for him as his athleticism continues to diminish.

Honestly, losing Haden is a scary proposition as it puts the Steelers corners into murky territory. Both he and Steven Nelson would be gone, meaning that unless someone is brought in, the team is back to their drafted corners starting. This wasn’t a recipe for success before, and it could signify an end of a relatively short era of successful secondary play. Haden has been a great starter, but age will likely lead to him being off the team next season. That really opens the door though for this group to regress back to pre-2017 versions of itself.