4 Steelers entering a make-or-break season in 2023

Steelers, Diontae Johnson
Steelers, Diontae Johnson / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
1 of 4

Sometimes it doesn't matter how much a player has accomplished, what their past production looks like, or how much they have outplayed their former draft status. There comes a time it's do-or-die, and players know the pressure is on if they want to keep their role on the team. When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, you can probably think of a few names off the top of your head who have been in this situation in the past.

The Steelers narrowly missed the playoffs in 2022, and after loading up on talent during the 2023 offseason, Mike Tomlin knows that his team needs to make a push for the playoffs after a six-year drought without a post-season win. This won't come unless everybody is doing their part.

Omar Khan has shown that he's not afraid to make big changes and jobs are certainly on the line this year. Here are four Steelers players entering make-or-break seasons in 2023.

4. OT Chukwuma Okorafor

After spending a first-round pick on an offensive tackle in the first round of the NFL Draft, Chukwuma Okorafor could be one step closer to losing his starting gig. Fortunately for him, he still holds the upper hand in locking down the starting right tackle job in 2023, but long-term job security in Pittsburgh is something he does not have the luxury of.

The Steelers gave Okorafor a contract extension just last offseason, but many thought he was overpaid at the time. Now the veteran offensive tackle will have a significant cap number of over $13 million for the 2023 season, per Over the Cap. Next year will be the final year of his deal, and Pittsburgh could save $8.75 million by releasing him. It's also worth noting that Okorafor is scheduled to make a $4 million roster bonus next season.

Because Okorafor has never proven to be more than a mid-level starter, this is truly a make-or-break season for him in 2023. If the Steelers don't see enough improvement this year, they could start looking for a replacement at right tackle.