4 Steelers players who should stick around in 2024

Pittsburgh won't lose any key starters in free agency, but they would be wise to bring these four role players back.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages
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Armon Watts, DL

Out of all of Pittsburgh's free agent signings during the 2023 offseason, Armon Watts proved to be the most surprising. Watts signed a one-year, $1.09 million deal with the team last year, but there wasn't a guarantee that he would even make the final 53-man roster in 2023.

Not only did Watts accomplish this feat, but he quietly proved to be one of the most reliable interior defenders on the team on a play-to-play basis. Though it's a small sample size, Watts shockingly graded out better than both Cameron Heyward and Keeanu Benton during the 2023 season, according to Pro Football Focus. His 77.3 overall grade ranked 18th among all NFL edge defenders this past year.

At 6'5'' and 307 pounds, the veteran defensive lineman proved to be stout in run defense while still offering enough pass-rush chops to occasionally get pressure on the opposing quarterback. This made him one of the most valuable pieces off the bench for the Steelers during the 2023 season.

Watts' box score numbers are admittedly underwhelming. He recorded just a half-sack in 2023 and failed to muster up a tackle for a loss last year. However, the film was much more impressive than the numbers would suggest as he helped create opportunities for his teammates. The Steelers won't want to get into a bidding war to keep the 27-year-old backup around, but if the price is right, Pittsburgh would be wise to retain Armon Watts on a new contract in 2024.