Steelers will regret not making these six free agent deals in 2024

The Steelers had a busy offseason so far, but these six deals would have made it even better
Oct 29, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Julio Jones (80) catches a
Oct 29, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Julio Jones (80) catches a / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The majority of the big free agency moves have passed, and the Steelers have a very different-looking roster. From the players they shipped out to the ones added, this team is leaving no stone unturned. That said, I think this team left some meat on the bone.

This free agency saw a lot of value in it that went a lot cheaper than I expected. At positions that typically are overvalued, we saw a lot of low-level deals get handed out. For a roster that still has a lot of holes in it, there were moves left on the table. Here are six free agents that the Steelers should have agreed to terms with.

Steelers missed out on Tommy Townsend

It was refreshing to see the Steelers land a capable punter in free agency. Instead of the veteran minimum options or rookies, this team landed one of the better legs in the league in Cameron Johnston. His three million-a-season average makes him one of the highest-paid punters in the league.

My only gripe is that fellow free agent punter Tommy Townsend also got three million per season, and many view him as the best or second-best leg in the NFL. Had his contract been significantly more money or filled with guarantees would be one thing, but he is younger and arguably better than Johnston, so I have some minor displeasure with the move.

Steelers missed out on Bradley Bozeman

The upcoming draft class is relatively strong at center, so I wasn’t a part of the contingent of fans who were upset that this team didn’t sign a top veteran option. That said, with center options on this team shallow, I expected at least a cheap veteran to enter into the mix as depth. Instead, the Steelers seem to be all in on the draft, even though there were some nice discounts in free agency.

Chief among them was Bradley Bozeman. The former Raven and Panther has been the model of consistency for the past few years. A better run blocker than a pass blocker, Bozeman won’t be confused with any of the elite centers in the league, but he is an established name who can start.

Following his release from the Panthers, Bozeman signed a veteran minimum contract with the Chargers. There are no risks with this deal, as he literally couldn’t have signed for less. Pittsburgh could have added Bozeman for cheap and had the draft not fallen the right way, used him as a starter in the short term.

Steelers missed out on Cedrick Wilson

I have been on the Cedrick Wilson bandwagon for some time, and I thought he made a lot of sense for the Steelers to target this offseason. This was especially the case once Diontae Johnson was traded. He has outside and inside flexibility with the size to throw a block if need be.

Ideally, Pittsburgh could have brought him in as their presumptive second receiver. Once a better option is acquired in the draft (as is currently the plan), Wilson could shift to a third receiver role and work out of the slot. He certainly would be a better option than the current contigent of middling depth options.

The Saints signed Wilson for next to nothing, inking him to a two-year deal for less than six million dollars total on the contract. His first-year cap hit is under two million dollars. I really think the Steelers missed out here, especially with such a shallow receiver depth cart right now.

Steelers missed out on Matt Peart

On the surface, tackle isn’t the biggest need on the team, especially if they use one of their early picks for a future starter. The issue becomes what happens if Dan Moore is replaced. The Steelers seem unwilling to play him on the right side, so a better swing tackle is needed, or at a minimum, a backup right tackle.

Matt Peart hasn’t become a success as a former third-round pick, but he has a lot of experience in that swing tackle role for the Giants. He fits the size profile that this offense covets in their tackles and is playing a minimum contract. Adding him now would have been great depth ahead of the draft.

Steelers missed out on Avonte Maddox

The final two names on this list are inexcusable to me. Even if you had to offer a little more in terms of upfront money, both of these defenders would have been great fits for this team. The first is Avonte Maddox, as this team hasn’t had a great every-down slot cornerback since Mike Hilton.

Maddox is certainly one of the best slot options in the league. He was a core member of the Eagles defense, but injuries have limited him recently. This caused Philadelphia to cut him this offseason as it was hard to justify keeping him at his current cap hit given the injury issues.

He decided to return to the Eagles on a one-year deal worth just over the minimum. I’m not sure if he was willing to play at the price because of him having already been on the Eagles, but even offering him a little more to come to Pittsburgh would have been the wiser move.

Steelers missed out on Kamren Curl

Let me be upfront: I do not dislike the signing of DeShon Elliot. It isn’t flashy, but he is a dependable player for the money. My issue is that the safety market as a whole was depreciated, and there were a lot of better names out there with a little more flash.

Kamren Curl was among the best young options at the position, and many expected him to sign one of the bigger safety deals. Instead, he only got a million and a half more per year than Elliot despite being a better playmaker. I’m fine not dropping a mega-contract on a devalued position, but spending a little more for a better and younger player makes sense to me.

Next. 100 NFL Draft prospects clearly on the Steelers 2024 big board. 100 NFL Draft prospects clearly on the Steelers 2024 big board. dark

All of the above deals were on the cheaper side, but they would have aided this team. Some would have been better than the deals this team handed out, and others would have been nice additions for depth. Regardless, I wish the Steelers would have made these six deals.