Despite making playoffs, the Steelers are in for a bad 2022

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (left) talks with quarterback Mason Rudolph (2). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (left) talks with quarterback Mason Rudolph (2). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers exceeded expectations in 2021, but that doesn’t mean this team is in a good position moving forward.

The Steelers had no business being in the playoffs this year. After an exodus of talent on both the defense and offense in the offseason, the reliance on an elderly and regressing quarterback, and the ill-prepared “rebuild” of the offensive line, this team should have been a mediocre team that struggled to post a positive record. By all accounts, this team exceeded those expectations simply by making the playoffs.

While it may feel good at the moment to rest on the laurels of exceeding expectations this season, don’t let it distract from the fact that this team is in a bad place moving forward. The team delayed the rebuild last season and got just about the best possible outcome from this team as a result, but now it sets up the team to be bad moving forward.

The Steelers roster is bad

Simply put, this roster was not one that could win a Super Bowl this season. It doesn’t get any better either, as this team has a slew of talented veterans who won’t be on this team in 2022. While some names will be brought back, starters like Joe Haden, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Terrell Edmunds will all likely depart for better opportunities.

This means that a roster filled with holes is only going to get worse. At this point, the Steelers will need a receiver, offensive linemen, a quarterback, linebackers, and multiple secondary members in order to field an average roster. All of this won’t be able to be filled this season, and the team will almost certainly be fielding some less than desirable starters next season.

Add in the importance of the quarterback position, and the questions that the Steelers have there going forward, and there is little hope that this team improves upon an already mediocre roster. Even with a decent amount of cap space, a lot of that will need to go to some extensions to keep the talent on this roster intact. Sure, there will be a few decent free agents brought in and the draft will yield a few starters, but this roster will still be bad come a year from now.

If the Steelers want to model their offseason after anyone, it should be akin to what the Patriots did a few seasons ago. They saw Tom Brady depart for the Buccaneers, and they had a frugal offseason. A few core, budget names were brought in while the roster was flushed from overpaid veterans. In the offseason afterward, the Patriots filled the remaining holes and rolled with a rookie quarterback en route to a playoff appearance.

All of that means that this team still has some bad to get through before they can rebound. Despite exceeding expectations this year, the same won’t be likely in 2022. Be prepared for a lean year or two as this team trims the fat of their roster.

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The Steelers have proven to be a good team at fielding competitive rosters, but in order to get back to that point, a rebuild has to start this offseason.