Don't panic; Steelers will be just fine without Terrell Edmunds

Steelers, Terrell Edmunds
Steelers, Terrell Edmunds / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

On March 23rd, Terrell Edmunds dropped a bombshell on Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Coming off arguably the best year of his NFL career, Edmunds took to Twitter to wave goodbye to Steelers Nation. As of now, it's unclear what is next for the former first-round pick, he won't be returning to Pittsburgh in 2023.

This news has thrown fans into a tizzy. Last year, just before the NFL Draft, the Steelers were able to sign Edmunds to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. Many of us were hoping that something similar would happen during 2023. Sadly, that's not the case.

While we don't know what the next chapter holds for Edmunds, we do know that the Steelers are in a bit of a bind when it comes to their current depth at the safety position. Minkah Fitzpatrick is clearly one of the best in the game, and he makes his presence felt routinely. Outside of him, however, there are some major question marks.

Right now, Damontae Kazee is slated to start alongside him. Unfortunately, this may not be the ideal fit. At 5'10'' and 184 pounds, Kazee is better suited as a backup free safety who can cover the slot and play a dime role. It's also worth noting that Kazee has landed on IR twice in the past three years and has had a lot of trouble staying healthy.

After Kazee, the depth really drops off with just Tre Norwood, Miles Killebrew, and Elijah Riley. So where do the Pittsburgh Steelers go from here?

Steelers can replace Edmunds without spending elite draft capital

I think there are two schools of thought here. Either the Steelers could sign another veteran safety with starting experience who could at least slide into a rotation with Kazee, or they could throw a respectable draft pick at the safety position in an effort to find his replacement. Whichever they elect to do, we don't need to go hitting the panic button.

Though Edmunds was a respectable player, he's certainly not irreplaceable in terms of what he brings to the table. Admittedly, he has made strides over the past three seasons as he improved in coverage and became a more consistent tackler. However, he lacked splash plays as much as anyone in the league with just 5 interceptions in 75 NFL starts, via ESPN stats.

Because of this, I think replacing him with a free agent like Jonathan Abram, Ronnie Harrison, or Keanu neal makes a lot of sense and wouldn't necessarily be a big drop-off. There are plenty of competent names on the market -- both young and old -- who could be had at a very reasonable price.

The other option is to go the NFL Draft route. Eventually, the Steelers do need to invest in the safety position in the draft, but I'm not in favor of them throwing their top pick at a position that isn't deemed as important as others. With Minkah already dominating on the backend, they don't need to draft a Brian Branch-level player.

Instead, the Steelers could get away with spending a day-two pick on a safety who would be a better fit alongside Fitzpatrick -- somebody who can play in the box and cover near the line of scrimmage. There are several strong candidates on day two of the draft who could help in this regard.

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The last thing we need to do is hit the panic button over the Steelers losing Terrell Edmunds. Yes, he turned out to be a pretty solid player, but Pittsburgh could have retained him if they really wanted to. It seems likely that Mike Tomlin and Omar Khan weren't as pleased as they would have liked to have been, and they wanted to take things in a different direction at the strong safety position moving forward.