Predicting the fate of the top 5 Steelers free agents in 2025

Which top free agents will return to Pittsburgh, and who will depart in free agency next offseason?
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout
Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Offseason Workout / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers can only go so many years in a row without losing important players in free agency. Over the past two offseasons, their free-agent losses have been insignificant. In 2024, the team waved goodbye to players like Armon Watts, Levi Wallace, and Patrick Peterson. However, the needle-movers haven't even seen the open market.

All of that could change in 2025. The Steelers are on track to have over two dozen unrestricted free agents testing the waters during the 2025 offseason, and it's unreasonable to think that every player will be brought back on a new contract.

This does not include restricted free agents like Jaylen Warren or exclusive rights free agents like Darius Rush. Fans want to know whether or not some of the most prominent players on the roster will be back in Pittsburgh next season.

It's early and a lot can change, but here are my predictions of whether or not the top 10 Steelers free agents will be staying or departing in 2025.

DL Cameron Heyward

Prediction: Signs with Steelers

Cameron Heyward is one of the biggest names on the Pittsburgh Steelers of the past two decades, and there's value in keeping him in the Steel City until he retires. While their contract talks may be far off at the moment, I am banking on both parties coming to an agreement.

Heyward will turn 36 years old during the 2025 offseason, and he wants to finish his career in Pittsburgh. The Steelers may have to overpay to avoid letting him test the market, but the Steelers will find a way to get something done -- even if they have to overpay.

QB Justin Fields

Prediction: Signs with Steelers

We've already seen the market fall through for Justin Fields when the Bears looked to trade him during the 2024 offseason. Eventually, they decided to send him to Pittsburgh for a return of just a sixth-round pick (which could become a fourth-rounder depending on playing time).

If Fields tests the market after his rookie contract expires, it's very possible that teams will look elsewhere for QB help. Meanwhile, the Steelers have made it clear that they really like the toolsy young quarterback. I think both parties work something out to keep Fields in Pittsburgh in 2025 -- even if it's only on a one-year 'prove it' deal.

QB Russell Wilson

Prediction: Leaves in free agency

We can't blame the Steelers for pulling the trigger on a high-profile quarterback on a veteran minimum contract. There were early reports that Pittsburgh wanted to extend Russell Wilson's contract, but I'll believe that when I see it.

Wilson turns 36 years old in November and, unless he has a phenomenal season in 2024, the market for his services next year should be nonexistent. Meanwhile, it's much more reasonable to have Pittsburgh choosing the 25-year-old Fields over Wilson when it comes to a contract extension. I think Wilson walks in free agency.

RB Najee Harris

Prediction: Leaves in free agency

I know everyone wants to play off the fifth-year option decision like it's nothing, but there's a reason why Omar Khan said no to keeping Najee Harris locked up for just $6.8 million in 2025. Both Harris and Warren are going to need new contracts, and the latter is expected to be a better fit in Arthur Smith's scheme.

It's also worth noting how much mileage Harris already has on his tires after being a feature back in Pittsburgh for three years and Alabama before that. It doesn't help that Harris was drafted before Omar Khan and Andy Weidl took over. The front office could be looking to move in a new direction that fits its vision. I'm predicting Harris will sign with a new team in free agency.

TE Pat Freiermuth

Prediction: Signs with steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers don't have the money to sign every free agent, but Pat Freiermuth is a player who comes back on a second contract. Personally, I would struggle with this decision. Freiermuth has a history of concussions and soft tissue injuries and he doesn't possess an irreplaceable skill set.

Regardless, Mike Tomlin isn't going to want unnecessary roster turnover if they can keep their starting tight end around. Freiermuth could have a bounceback season in a contract year, which would increase his likelihood of earning a second contract with Pittsburgh.