Steelers may already be regretting not paying Terrell Edmunds

  • Minkah is out for personal reasons while Kazee and Neal can't stay on the field
  • Perhaps the Steelers shouldn't have let Edmunds walk away for nothing

Steelers, Terrell Edmunds
Steelers, Terrell Edmunds / Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

When the 2023 free agency period rolled around, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a chance to retain Terrell Edmunds on another cheap, one-year contract. The team was looking to go in another direction, and as a result, they let Edmunds quietly slip away on a one-year, $2 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Many fans didn't sweat over this loss. While Edmunds has made strides since being considered a first-round bust early in this NFL career, the lack of splash plays and interceptions made him expendable... or so we thought.

Now I have to wonder if Mike Tomlin and the Steelers were wishing they kept him around a bit longer.

We are just a few days into padded practices and already Pittsburgh is down their top three players at the safety position. Minkah Fitzpatrick hasn't participated due to unknown personal reasons, so his absence isn't injury-related. However, not having Damontae Kazee or Keanu Neal available is a bit concerning.

After injuring his ankle, Kazee could be seen wearing a walking boot on the sideline of the practice fields at Saint Vincent College. Though the boot recently came off, Kazee still isn't back to participating. Meanwhile, Keanu Neal was injured during Wednesday's practice, and he spent Thursday sitting on the bench.

These injuries both appear to be minor and these players could rejoin their teammates soon. However, there was risk from the start and Pittsburgh should have seen the signs.

Steelers could use the stability of Terrell Edmunds right now

Both Damontae Kazee and Keeanu Neal have had multiple seasons cut short due to injuries. Their injury history is scary enough that neither player ever regained the statuses they held early in their NFL careers.

Neal's best season came way back in 2017 when he earned his lone Pro Bowl honors, while Kazee's best year was with the Falcons when he led the NFL with 7 interceptions. Since then, both safeties have suffered season-ending injuries, and in the latter stages of their careers, they can't be counted on to stay healthy.

On the other hand, Terrell is still just 26 years old entering his sixth NFL season, and he has had a remarkably clean bill of healthy since entering the league in 2018. Over the past five seasons, Edmunds has played in 79 of a possible 82 games -- making 75 starts.

I know that Edmunds isn't the splashiest of players. He records one interception per year on average and has surprisingly never forced a fumble. However, there's a lot of value in having a stable, healthy body that you can depend on. Right now, that seems to be exactly what the Pittsburgh Steelers are missing at the safety position.