Pat Freiermuth had a remarkable start to his NFL career. Over his first two seasons, he became the first tight end in NFL history to earn at least 60 receptions in each of his first two years. He did this while missing a game each year and exiting the contest early at times due to injuries.
Entering 2023, the arrow was pointed way up for the young tight end. Freiermuth jumped up to 11.6 yards per attempt in 2022. Though his touchdown numbers dipped, his efficiency hit new heights as he managed 7.5 yards per target and recorded 732 receiving yards on the season, per Pro Football Reference.
However, his start to the 2023 season has been disastrous. Freiermuth has been misused on offense, and he has struggled more often than not when on the field. This isn't great timing, as the third-year tight end was due for a massive contract extension following the 2023 season. Here are three things happening right now that will cost Pat Freiermuth millions of dollars on his future deal.
3. Sharp decline in the lack of production
In his first two seasons combined, the former second-round pick raked in an impressive 123 receptions for 1,229 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. He did this despite being credited for starting just 17 of 32 games during this span and playing roughly 65 percent of the team's total offensive snaps.
Unfortunately, his production has fallen off a cliff. A month into his third NFL season, Freiermuth has a mere 53 receiving yards on 13 targets. Though he has snagged a pair of touchdowns in his first four games, he's on pace for a shockingly unproductive season.
If we prorate these stats for a whole season Freiermuth is only on track to earn 34 receptions and 225 receiving yards. This is mind-boggling when you consider that he's been pivotal to Pittsburgh's passing offense over the past two years. It will be hard for his agent to argue that he should be one of the highest-paid tight ends in the NFL with numbers like these.