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Report: NFL considering a full year suspension for Browns Deshaun Watson

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 06/18/2022 - 7:30am
Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns new quarterback could be lost for the entire 2022 regular season, per reports.

The AFC North has gone through an overhaul recently. Gone is Ben Roethlisberger for the Pittsburgh Steelers, while Deshaun Watson becomes the latest quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. While the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens remain contenders within the division, the Browns’ 2022 season hinges on the future of their quarterback.

As every NFL fan knows, Deshaun Watson faces a suspension from the league, and the question is how many games he could miss in 2022. Everyone has their estimations and guesses, but a recent Washington Post report suggests Watson could be suspended for an entire year.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports the NFL will argue that Watson should receive a “significant” suspension, and that the league “probably” will ask for a one-year banishment.

This per ProFootballTalk:

Per Maske, NFLPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler has become involved in the case. The league reportedly is concerned that Kessler will push for no discipline at all.

Maske confirms our report that, in defending Watson, the NFLPA will point to the punishments imposed (or not) on Commanders owner Daniel Snyder, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to support the argument that Watson’s punishment, if any, should reflect the consequences those owners received — especially since the Personal Conduct Policy warns that owners are held to a higher standard than players.

Maske adds that the league would like to have the situation fully resolved before training camp opens, but that the approach taken by Watson and the NFLPA could delay the outcome. Don’t blame Watson if that happens, NFL. You’ve had months to investigate the situation and to make a decision. When the time comes for Watson and the NFLPA to present a defense, it should take whatever amount of time it needs to take. And that should have been factored into the timing of the initiation of the process.

Per Maske, the league could impose discipline against Watson based on currently available information, with the understanding that further discipline could be imposed if new information surfaces. That could get tricky for the league. If, for example, he’s suspended eight games and proceeds to lose any, some, or all of the 24 (soon to be 26) lawsuits pending against him, the NFL surely wouldn’t be able to suspend him again simply because juries believe the testimony of the plaintiffs and impose verdicts against Watson. There would have to be something truly new — new claims, new evidence. Something that the league didn’t already know or that it shouldn’t have known, through reasonable investigative steps.

At this point, all of this is purely speculation, but you can expect more news on this to heat up as summer, and training camps, approach in the month of July. In the meantime, the rest of the AFC North will be looking at this situation closely, knowing how it will impact their favorite teams in 2022.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the Steelers as they prepare for their return to Saint Vincent College for training camp starting July 26th.

There are several reasons to be cheerful and excited for the 2022 Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 06/18/2022 - 6:30am
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 roster is better than the 2021 roster. Yet NFL analysts continue to write off the team. But there are so many reasons to be optimistic.

With the 2022 offseason officially here, what do Pittsburgh Steelers fans need to think about? Well, on the day ESPN released an article predicting the Steelers will pick 6th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, I think it’s time someone took a positive outlook towards the upcoming 2022 season.

Going into this 2022 season I firmly believe that the Pittsburgh Steelers have a better roster than in 2021, a season where they finished 9-7-1 and were only half a game back of the Cincinnati Bengals. A Bengals team that were vaunted and celebrated by NFL analysts. Throughout free agency and the draft the Steelers front office have addressed needs the roster has needed, and made the team stronger and more NFL-ready.

Let’s take the biggest problem from last year — the offensive line. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the 2022 line. First, the acquisition of James Daniels gives the Steelers a real leader and example setter. Daniels has already spoken about his desire to be a leader on offense.

Now, add to that the signing of Mason Cole, a solid center from the Minnesota Vikings. His presence could mean an end to the high snaps and bull rushes which often left Kendrick Green in Ben Roethlisberger’s lap. Furthermore, the competition between Dotson and Green can only be good for the Steelers. Competition drives up standards and keeps those standards high. Whoever wins the battle will need to play to the best of their abilities to keep their starting spot. Again, good news for the Steelers!

Last season the offense often let down the defense. Just look at the Kansas City playoff game. The defense holds the Chiefs for 20-25 minutes, something no other team had done, but the offense goes 3-and-out time and time again. This coming season’s offense has a far better chance of succeeding with Matt Canada now having all the pieces he needs to institute his offensive system. He has a mobile quarterback with a stronger arm than Roethlisberger, at the end of his career, in Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett. He has some excellent young receivers and a great tight end room too. George Pickens, Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson and Calvin Austin III all bring great attributes to help the Canada system succeed.

Add to this the fact Najee Harris is bigger, stronger and has a better line, he could be even better this coming season. Once the run can be established the Canada system can then begin to work.

The most important reason to be optimistic, even though Stephon Tuitt has retired, is the return of Tyson Alualu. Alualu being added to the star-studded defense the Steelers already have means this unit will be even stronger. There’s even more flexibility there too. Rookie DeMarvin Leal and Genard Avery can play a number of positions. Three top quality safeties mean the defense can use 3-safety looks to help bolster both the run and pass defenses. This defense is loaded, and looks like a Top 5 unit.

Finally, another reason to be excited about the upcoming season is the fact the Steelers have Mike Tomlin. Tomlin hasn’t had a losing season, and has dragged very average rosters in the past to playoff contention, something very few other coaches have done.

So, let’s be optimistic and let the analysts write the team off. Because we know come September there’s going to be a lot of people in the media eating crow about the Steelers!

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Sat, 06/18/2022 - 5:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

The Pittsburgh Steelers seasons come and go with no real offseason, at least not for those diehard fans. For those fans, the preseason bleeds into the regular season, the regular season into the offseason, free agency and the NFL Draft. It is a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Nonetheless, we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the BTSC website, but we’ve decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest two podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

Nonetheless, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show.

Here We Go, the Steelers Show: Safety in numbers

The Steelers nailed-down Minkah Fitzpatrick for the next five years. That’s a good thing due to the possibility that the Steelers may employ a three-safety set with Minkah, Terrell Edmunds and Damontae Kazee. Join Bryan Anthony Davis and Kevin Smith for Here We Go. The BTSC duo break down the Steelers like no one else does.

Check out the rundown

  • News and Notes
  • The safety of three safetys
  • and MUCH MORE!
Steelers Friday Night Six Pack with Tony: Minkah’s new deal is a big deal

The Steelers came to terms on a new extension with safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, and they did so faster than many perhaps thought they would. Has a new precedent been set? All of that and more on this episode of Steelers Friday Night Six Pack with veteran BTSC podcaster and writer Tony Defeo.

  • Steelers News and Notes
  • Minkah’s new deal
  • Steelers Q&A
  • and MUCH MORE!

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Friday Night Steelers Six Pack of questions and open thread: Offseason Vol. 17

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 06/17/2022 - 5:45pm
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

There is always something to talk about when it comes to the Black & Gold!

It’s Friday again, so it’s time for the six pack of questions. It seems as if Jeff and Dave come to a consensus in cutting to the chase...

This week, I, Jeff, will be tasked with the questions up for discussion.

The rules are still the same...

Quick rundown of the ground rules.

  • I’ll ask at least four questions strictly related to the Steelers.
  • The rest of the questions could be about anything.
  • Be respectful.
  • Have fun talking about the Black-and-gold.

Procedural Note: Since the title feature has gone away, please feel free to leave your usual title as the first line of your response and even bold it if you can for the ease of others.

So here we go! With the formalities out of the way, it’s time to jump on in. Hopefully this party is exactly what you’re looking for on a Friday night. Here goes:

1. The Steelers locked up Minkah Wednesday. What was your knee jerk reaction to the contract, and the financials?

2. If you are Omar Khan, who do you try and sign next? Chris Boswell or Diontae Johnson? Or do you not even try to sign anyone inside the organization?

3. An extension of No. 2, if you were to sign an outside player BEFORE training camp, what position would you target, and why?

4. OVER/UNDER Minkah Fitzpatrick interceptions in 2022? Line is set at 3.5

5. Both the safety and running back positions have devalued over time. Which position do you feel is more important to have a big-time player at that position?

6. This weekend is Father’s Day weekend. Whether you have a father still in your life, feel free to tell a great story about the man, maybe how they shaped your Steelers fandom, on this special weekend.

Stay safe out there!

And it wouldn’t be a Friday night unless we said...

HERE WE GO STEELERS!

PODCASTS

We added some new shows and a new platform to our podcasts...if you haven’t checked out our full lineup of morning, noon, and evening shows, give them a try by listening below!

Going For Two: Carlos & Khalil Davis

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 06/17/2022 - 2:30pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Day 7 of Going For Two, featuring Carlos & Khalil Davis

Welcome to Going For Two! Over the 45 days leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 training camp, we will be highlighting two players every day in order to cover the entire 90-man offseason roster. So without further ado, here are today’s two players:

Carlos Davis Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Position: Defensive tackle
Age: 25
Year: 3
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 320
Drafted: 2020, Round 7, Pick 232
College: Nebraska
Roster Outlook: Outside looking in
Analysis:

As a seventh round draft pick, there weren’t a lot of expectations on Carlos Davis his rookie season of 2020. Still, he appeared in seven games for the Steelers and seemed to be a developmental defensive lineman with potential going into the next season. But in 2021, his season was derailed after Week 1 where he had a lingering knee injury, yet the Steelers didn’t place him on the Reserve/Injured List until Week 8. Coming back later in the season, Carlos Davis appeared in three more games but never saw more than 15 snaps in a week. With the Steelers having many more options on the defensive line than positions they can keep on the 53-man roster, Carlos Davis is going to have to move up significantly in order to make the team or Week 1. Otherwise, he’s a prime candidate for the practice squad.

Khalil Davis George Walker IV / Tennessean.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Position: Defensive tackle
Age: 25
Year: 3
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 308
Drafted: 2020, Round 6, Pick 194 (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
College: Nebraska
Roster Outlook: Outside looking in
Analysis:

Despite being drafted a round ahead of his twin brother Carlos, Khalil Davis has only appeared in three NFL games in two seasons and played less than 50 total snaps. Only appearing in two games as a rookie with Tampa Bay, when the Buccaneers waved him at the beginning of October in his second season the Indianapolis Colts claimed him off waivers and he appeared in one game. But when Khalil Davis was once again released at the end of October, the Steelers waited for him to clear waivers and signed him to the practice squad to reunite the twins out of Nebraska. But with Carlos seeing action late in the season but Khalil never leaving the practice squad, he has a longer shots to make the team that his twin brother. As of now, Khalil’s best bet is if he can land on the Steelers practice squad yet again in 2022.

Be sure to check back everyday for another two players for the Steelers, and as we go along click back on previous articles listed below so you don’t miss a thing.

Mitch Trubisky feels ‘fortunate’ to have landed with the Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 06/17/2022 - 12:45pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have options at quarterback, and it seems as if the front-runner would be none other than Mitch Trubisky.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a unique situation heading into the 2022 regular season. With Ben Roethlisberger officially retired, the team now turns to a trio of options at the quarterback position.

Mitch Trubisky

Kenny Pickett

Mason Rudolph

Outside of Pickett, the team’s 20th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Steelers have bolstered the positional depth with a lot of experience.

For Trubisky, who was considered a failed experiment with the Chicago Bears, a year backing up with the Buffalo Bills has the veteran quarterback looking forward to the future. When he does that, he is fortunate he landed where he did with the Steelers.

“I just feel very fortunate and lucky that I landed here in Pittsburgh,” said Trubisky at the close of minicamp. “I am happy to be here with these guys and this team, coaching staff and everyone…the city and the fans. I feel like I am in a very fortunate situation, and I am excited for the opportunity.

“A part of me wishes we were still going next week. We’ve got some time off, so we have to take care of our bodies and get ready for training camp. But it was a lot of fun, especially the last couple years when OTAs with Covid have looked different, being at home, being virtual. So being together, being able to build that chemistry and be around the guys and have fun on the field like that, it’s bittersweet it’s over. But I feel good about the work we put in so far.”

The Steelers have wrapped up all of their offseason workouts, and won’t come together again as a team until the team reports to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA on July 26th. But that doesn’t mean the players won’t be meeting and continuing to work on their craft during the summer down time.

In fact, Trubisky is headed down to Florida to workout this offseason, and is expecting company. More specifically, he is going to be hosting the other quarterbacks in Florida to workout.

Kenny Pickett acknowledged the workouts before the team broke mandatory minicamp last week.

“We already talked about meeting up down there, training and hanging out,” said Pickett. “I definitely want to use those guys. They are great teammates as a resource and to help me learn. I can’t say enough great things about how they have been.”

If you are someone who looks at the Steelers as being different, a family environment, this should point to that still being true. Trubisky could give Pickett the Ryan Tannehill treatment and not be willing to help him. He could be the veteran who realizes the other quarterbacks are competition, and every advantage he can get is worthwhile.

Nonetheless, it seems Trubisky has bought into the team-first mentality the Steelers have called their own for decades now. He is confident in his own abilities, and isn’t about to be the guy who isn’t willing to help his teammates, even if they are competing for the same job.

Trubisky is fortunate to be with the Steelers, and all reports out of Pittsburgh this offseason is how the Steelers are fortunate to have Trubisky. Both for the experience, as well as the leadership qualities he exudes.

Regardless of who wins the quarterback job, it seems the position room is in good hands, something many questioned when Roethlisberger called it a career after 18 years.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for training camp.

Steelers Post-Draft Roster Review, Part 7: Outside Linebackers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 06/17/2022 - 11:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft is over and the Steelers have added many new faces to the roster. In this series, we’ll take a look at each position and what you need to know as the offseason rolls on. In Part Seven, we’ll break down the Outside Linebackers.

The Steelers Outside Linebacker (OLB) position group has a lot to boast about, but there’s also cause for some concern. Let’s dive right into this polarizing group of players.

The Players

T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, Derek Tuszka, Genard Avery, Tuzar Skipper, Delontae Scott, T.D. Moultry, Tyree Johnson

Group Breakdown

The Steelers like to do things differently than the rest of the NFL. We know that. But one of the more interesting differences is in how they designate player positions. Only two of the players mentioned above are actually labelled outside linebackers (Tuszka, Avery), while the rest are given the simple designation of linebacker (LB).

In a way, it speaks to the versatility that the team requires of its EDGE defenders. In the traditional 3-4 defensive scheme the Steelers have deployed since the early Dick LeBeau years, Steelers’ OLBs are not strictly pass-rushers, as they are frequently asked to drop back into coverage on Tight Ends and Running Backs. That being said, Pittsburgh currently boasts the best pass-rusher in the business in none other than T.J. Watt, the reigning 2021 Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY).

To borrow a Mike Tomlin catch phrase, the volume of Watt’s work speaks for itself. It is not hyperbole to say Watt should be the favorite to repeat as DPOY in 2022 and be one of the best players again in all of football, regardless of position.

Watt’s running mate on the outside is the ever-improving Alex Highsmith. All the signs are there pointing to a potential breakout year in 2022 for the UNC Charlotte alum. The Steelers are looking for this breakout intently to take some of the pressure off of the All-World Watt, and establish the duo as one of the best in football. Highsmith’s work ethic and tenacity cannot be questioned, and if he can combine his improving talent with those qualities, watch out for the 3rd-year pro.

This is where it get’s a little cloudy for Pittsburgh. After Watt and Highsmith there is a serious drop-off in experience and production, with Derek Tuszka and Genard Avery having the best combination of the two, but still leaving the Steelers without a truly impactful 3rd rusher. Finding a player to fit that role is crucial, and could easily be an area the team addresses before the start of the season.

That's not to discount Tuszka, who showed flashes of ability with 2 sacks in the final three games of the season, or Avery, who also has some solid tape out there, specifically his rookie season in Cleveland. Also, the team brought back training camp sensation and fan-favorite Tuzar Skipper, an undrafted free agent (UDFA) in Pittsburgh in 2019, after brief stints with the Giants and Titans. Could he recoup some of the magic that earned him a spot on the original 53-man roster in 2019? If not, he’ll have on his heals the likes of Delontae Scott, T.D. Moultry, and Tyree Johnson, who all similarly have something to prove as UDFAs and/or former practice squad guys.

Depth Chart Prediction

This specific Roster Review exercise is all about who steps up at the number three EDGE role. The Steelers will likely take a long look at what they have in house before attempting to fill that spot with a veteran Free Agent who may or may not end up having a “hostage” mentality. We all know how that flies with Coach Tomlin. It doesn’t. Right now, my money is on Derek Tuszka earning those reps early after a strong finish to his 2021 campaign.

Expect big seasons from both T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith in 2022, with the latter taking another step in his development as a Bud Dupree-like force opposite the incomparable Watt. In order for this team to be a legitimate contender in the AFC, the Defense will need to be a difference-making unit, and that starts with continued success for these two key contributors.

LEFT OLB: T.J. Watt, Derek Tuszka

RIGHT OLB: Alex Highsmith, Tuzar Skipper

PRACTICE SQUAD: Delontae Scott

Steelers 2023 NFL Draft Position Preview: Defensive Linemen

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 06/17/2022 - 10:00am
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With Tyson Alualu’s future unknown, the Steelers should look into these defensive linemen in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Ready for the NFL’s dog days of summer to be over? If you have fallen into this category and are currently suffering from football withdrawal, how about a splash into the pool entitled, “2023 NFL Draft”?

Over the next few weeks, we will be taking a brief look at the outlook of each primary position in the 2023 NFL Draft, breaking down the top prospects of note while also taking a look at the prospects who make the most sense for the Steelers. This week, we will be looking at a position that has been a major headline in recent Steelers news: defensive line.

With Stephon Tuitt retiring, the Steelers are expecting a combination of DeMarvin Leal, Isaiahh Loudermilk, and Chris Wormley to fill his void. Wormley seems to be penciled in as the starter as of now, but Leal will have every opportunity to steal the starting gig in the preseason. A replacement for Tuitt is not the only thing the Steelers have to worry about on the defensive line, however. Tyson Alualu is 35 years old and coming off a season-ending ankle injury, and after passing on Travis Jones on Day 2 of the 2022 draft, the Steelers will definitely need to address it in 2023.

If you have any thoughts on these prospects, be sure to share them in the comment section below.

Let’s dive in!

First Rounders 1. Jalen Carter | Georgia

The numbers may not wow you on paper, but if you watched Georgia’s defense in 2021, you can testify to the impact Carter made. He was an absolute wrecking ball, and it is not absurd to consider him better than any of the other defensive linemen on that stacked Georgia defense. That includes Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt, who were both high-profile draft prospects this past year. When it comes to down linemen, Carter’s quickness and twitchiness are unparalleled in the 2023 class, and his solid base allows him to defend the run at an incredibly high level. Now that he finally has a chance to garner the spotlight, do not be surprised if he becomes a top-ten pick next April.

2. Bryan Bresee | Clemson

While we are talking about athletic freaks, I would be remiss not to mention Bresee. At 6’5”, 300 pounds, Bresee can literally play anywhere along the defensive line thanks to his uncanny speed for a 300-pound lineman. He is incredibly quick out of his stance, and he uses his length well, consistently winning the battle for leverage in the trenches. If he can make a full recovery from an ACL injury he suffered at the beginning of the 2021 season, he could shoot up draft boards in a hurry.

Rest of the Top 10

3. Jaquelin Roy | LSU
4. Cory Durden | North Carolina State
5. Siaki Ika | Baylor
6. Calijah Kancey | Pittsburgh
7. Gervon Dexter | Florida
8. Myles Murphy | North Carolina (not to be confused with Myles Murphy from Clemson)
9. Tyler Davis | Clemson
10. P.J. Mustipher | Penn State

Steelers Prospect to Watch Siaki Ika | Baylor Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

If you like large human beings, Ika will become your BFF in short order. At 6’4”, 350 pounds, Ika fits the mold of a prototypical nose tackle, but he has also shown flashes of three-down ability. Unfortunately, those flashes need to become more frequent in 2022. While 3.5 sacks may not sound like much, it is a solid number for a man as big as Ika. However, it does not erase the fact that he is capable of even more.

Ika began his collegiate career at LSU, a school which showed serious interest in him coming out of high school. The former four-star recruit was expected to play a major role in the Tigers defense, but to his demise, LSU changed their defensive scheme to a base 4-3 front, making Ika the odd man out of the puzzle. When realizing his role was going to be destroyed, he entered the transfer portal and ended up choosing Baylor. He now heads into his fourth season of college ball with the expectation of becoming a Day 2 draft pick.

Ika’s size is no secret, but it is worth mentioning that he certainly lives up to the billing of a two-gap, run-stuffing defender. He plays with heart and emotion, and his work ethic has been unquestioned. If he can drop, say, 10 pounds and remain in the 335-340 pound range, it could do wonders for his quickness coming out of his stance.

Regardless of what he weighs in at, he is a player the Steelers should keep a close eye on this fall as they look to find a long-term replacement for Tyson Alualu.

Which of the aforementioned defensive linemen do you like the most? Which defensive lineman do you think fits best in the Steelers’ current defensive scheme? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this topic, and stay tuned to BTSC throughout the remainder of the summer for all the news and notes surrounding our beloved black and gold!

Mitch Trubisky may have found Valhalla

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 06/17/2022 - 8:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky may have located the NFL version of Valhalla.

When it comes to NFL success for any NFL quarterback, timing is everything. Next on the list of important metrics would probably be location, location, location. However, none of the aforementioned metrics means anything without the most important metric of all: talent.

Recently signed free agent newcomer Mitchell Trubisky definitely has talent. The kind of athletic talent that warranted the second overall selection of the 2017 NFL Draft for the Chicago Bears. That selection reveals the importance of location.

The Chicago Bears are one of the oldest and most storied franchise in NFL history. Names like George Halas, Gale Sayers, Mike Ditka, and the legendary Walter Payton immediately come to mind. There are plenty of other Hall of Fame names worth mentioning, but there is one glaring position that lacks a distinguished namesake: quarterback.

Chicago is where quarterback careers go to die, making the Bears basically a quarterback graveyard. As if the Bears knew how to recognize and develop quarterback talent in the first place, an ability that they have yet to display in their history of ineptitude at the position.

The 1985 Super Bowl Shuffle squad was lead by the infamous wild child Jim McMahon, a player best remembered for his hairstyle and erratic behavior, more so than his passing prowess. That being said, McMahon is arguably the best quarterback in Bears history. Let's put it this way, there were many occasions during Walter Payton's illustrious career where the best quarterback on the roster was...Walter Payton. I am only half joking about that, as Payton was an accomplished passer, good enough to fill in as the signal caller in a pinch.

Trubisky had the distinguished opportunity, or the misfortune, depending on how you look at it, to be the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears for the majority of his four years with the franchise. He helped lead the Bears to the playoffs in two of his four years with the team. Believe it or not; his 10,609 passing yards, 64 touchdown passes, and 1057 rushing yards, plus the aforementioned two playoff appearances, makes him one of the best quarterbacks in Bears history. This from a young man who many Bears fans consider a bust. Anybody else noticing a trend here? A common denominator if you will. Maybe Trubisky wasn't the problem.

Now Trubisky finds himself with the most stable franchise in the NFL. The franchise with the most overall wins in the modern NFL era, and tied for the most Super Bowl titles with six total. By the way, the most successful and consistent organization in the sport has had three Hall of Fame caliber head coaches during that same timeframe, total. Not only have the Steelers had two Hall of Fame caliber, face of the franchise quarterbacks in Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger, they actually drafted and developed both.

Trubisky must feel like he has escaped purgatory and gained access to the NFL version of Valhalla. Fresh off a 2021 season that saw him as the seldom used, primary backup for Pro Bowl quarterback Josh Allen with the Buffalo Bills, Trubisky signed a two year free agency contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. After being the perceived best option on the free agent market at quarterback, he finds himself in an enviable position with the Steelers.

Although he currently is engaged in the early stages of what is presumably a three man, open quarterback competition with incumbent Mason Rudolph and 2021 first round selection Kenny Pickett, Trubisky's starting experience and first round pedigree likely gives him a leg up in the competition. He will enter training camp number one on the depth chart.

This is Trubisky's best chance for sustained NFL success. Whoever said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression definitely wasn't talking about Mitch Trubisky.

This opportunity with the Steelers could be viewed as his first real chance to show all he is capable of. He seems like a ideal fit for the Steelers new look offense that is currently being installed by offensive coordinator Matt Canada. I say new look because nobody in the league, and Steelers Nation for that matter, has yet to witness an accurate representation of what Canada's offense will look like. That should at least begin to change after the Steelers spent the entire offseason acquiring players with skill sets that appear to fit his system. Now it's put up or shut up time for Matt Canada in Pittsburgh.

Trubisky's athleticism should mess perfectly with the assortment of play-action and designed rollouts required in Canada's offense. His mobility will be a huge asset to the Steelers young and reconstructed offensive line, giving them much greater room for the inevitable error. Although he will still only be a 28 year old entering his sixth NFL season by the start of the 2022, he will be essentially a graybeard in the Steelers incredibly youthful offense. His experience in the heat of battle could bring valuable leadership qualities, and a calming presence in the huddle. He is well known as a respectable and affable young man.

Trubisky will easily be surrounded by the most talented group of skill position players he has ever had the privilege of leading as a starting quarterback. One could argue an even better group than the one he got to watch perform in Buffalo last season.

Although Trubisky really didn't get any meaningful minutes in his one year hiatus with the Super Bowl contending Buffalo Bills, he did get the invaluable opportunity to see what a well constructed and coached operation looks like, expertly lead by a young franchise QB.

Now he has to out perform the competition, and seize this golden opportunity to show whether or not he is capable of doing the same.

Updating the Steelers’ salary cap situation after Minkah Fitzpatrick’s deal

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 06/17/2022 - 7:15am
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The new deal freed up some cap space for the 2022 season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have filled up their 90-man offseason roster heading into the 2022 NFL season. While there still could be some significant swapping of players, htere is always the chance something else changes things whether large or small. As reports come in of these deals well before they are official, even after pen is put to paper it can sometimes take some time to know the exact financials within the contract. Relying heavily on reliable salary cap websites such as overthecap.com or spotrac.com, when they are able to report a player’s contract numbers over the specific years I then update the salary cap situation with a more precise number.

To the delight of Steelers’ Nation, Minkah Fitzpatrick and the new Steelers front office worked out their deal much earlier than many expected. In doing so, the move saved the Steelers some salary cap space. The exact numbers for Minkah Fitzpatrick when it comes to the 2022 salary cap were reported by ESPN’s field Yates.

Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick received a $17.5M signing bonus as part of his extension, while his 2022 base salary dropped to $4M.

His updated 2022 cap charge: $8,124,235.

In locking up their star, the Steelers also created $2,487,675 in cap space.

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) June 16, 2022

As I stated in an article yesterday, the problem with these numbers is they don’t exactly add up based on all the information given. If adding Fitzpatrick‘s base salary for 2022 to the $3.5 million prorated bonus created by having a $17.5 million signing bonus over five seasons, it only comes to a cap hit of $7.5 million for 2022. Exactly where the other money comes in, which is almost $625k, has not been reported in this time. It could be a number of things, such as Fitzpatrick’s original contract being under the old CBA and they have since added a 17th game. Saying the missing amount is EXACTLY 1/17 of Fitzpatrick’s fifth-year option to the dollar, this is likely the case, but exactly where this money falls as part of the contract is unclear. Unfortunately these specifics have not been reported at this time. But with Yates giving a very specific dollar amount for Fitzpatrick’s salary cap charge this season, I am moving forward with this report as being accurate and will adjust the numbers later if it is found to be incorrect.

Based on this number, Fitzpatrick’s $10.612 million salary cap hit for 2022 will reduce by almost $2.5 million with this new deal. What I found interesting is the amount of Fitzpatrick’s base salary that was not converted into a signing bonus. With an additional $3 million that could have been included, it did not give the Steelers additional cap releif for the season but also did not spread more than needed into the future. If one wants to read between the lines, it could simply mean the Steelers did not feel that they needed the extra cap space for this year.

When a player is signed by the Steelers, one thing that has to be factored in is roster displacement. As a reminder, roster displacement is taking into account only the top 51 contracts for a team count towards the salary cap during the offseason. As a larger contract comes on the books, it bumps a smaller contract out of the top 51. Therefore, it’s only the difference in those contracts that increases the salary cap number. But in the case of Fitzpatrick, it was not an addition to the roster so there is no displacement.

Here is the approximate breakdown of the Steelers salary cap space based on their recent moves by my own calculations. The numbers are strictly the salary cap hit for each player in 2022. Players who were released, were given a tender, or had their exact salary reported are indicated below and the precise numbers are known.

(NOTE: Unless indicated, reported salaries displaced a $825k salary.)

Steelers salary cap space heading into free agency: Approximately $28.8 million

Dwayne Haskins: Tendered $2.54 million salary; After displacement++: -$1.715 million
Miles Killebrew: Reported $1.5175 million; After displacement: -$0.6925 million
Arthur Maulet: Reported $1.535 million; After displacement: -$0.71 million
Mitch Trubisky: Reported $3.66 million; After displacement+: -$2.765 million
Mason Cole: Reported $2.556666 million; After displacement+: -$1.661666 million
Chuks Okorafor: Reported $4.333333 million; After displacement: -$3.508333 million
Robert Spillane: Tendered $2.433 million salary; After displacement: -$1.608 million
Marcus Allen: Tendered $2.54 million salary; After displacement: -$1.715 million
James Daniels: Reported $4.166666 million; After displacement: -$3.341666 million
Levi Wallace: Reported $2.5175 million; After displacement*: -$1.672317 million
Montravius Adams: Reported $1.7675 million; After displacement+: -$0.8725 million
Zach Banner: Saved $5 million salary; After displacement: +$4.175 million
Myles Jack: Reported $4.75 million; After displacement*: -$3.90139 million
Joe Schobert: Saved $7.834 million salary; After displacement+: +$6.939 million
Ahkello Witherspoon: Reported $2.5175 million; After displacement+: -$1.6225 million
Gunner Olszewski: Reported $1.5825 million; After displacement+: -$0.6875 million
Genard Avery: Reported $1.0475 million; After displacement+: -$0.1525
Karl Joseph: Reported $895k; not in the top 51: -$0
Miles Boykin: Reported $2.54 million; After displacement++: -$0
Terrell Edmunds: Reported $1.1875 million; After displacement+: -$0.2925
Damontae Kazee: Reported $1.0475 million; After displacement+: -$0.1525
George Pickens: Reported $1.22767 million; After displacement+: -$0.33267
Trenton Scott: Reported $895k; not in the top 51: -$0
DeMarvin Leal: Reported $0.943072 million; After displacement+: -$0.048072
Bryce Watts: Released with $10k in dead money: -$0.01
Tuzar Skipper: Reported $895k; not in the top 51: -$0
Stephon Tuitt: Saved $9.05 million salary; After displacement+: +$8.155 million
Minkah Fitzpatrick: Reported $8.124235 million; Replaced $10.612 million: +$2.487765 million

Estimated salary cap space: Approximately $23.1 million

*The salaries displaced by these two contracts were $845,183 (Tre Norwood) and $848,610 (Pressley Harvin)

+A $895k contract was displaced

++Displaced by each other, giving no change to the cap

So where does this number compare to those reported by the major salary cap websites (at the original time of publishing, before any potential updates)?

According to overthecap.com, the Steelers are $20,618,968 under the salary cap. OTC does not have the new Fitzpatrick contract yet, but without it we had the exact same dollar amount.

Another credible salary cap website is spotrac.com, which has the Steelers at $20,131,112 under the cap. Spotrac has the above contracts except Fitzpatrick, but also has Miles Boykin’s prorated bonus incorrectly counting for the Steelers instead of it sticking with the Ravens. Spotrac does not have the offseason workouts counting against the salary cap at this time either. Additionally, Spotrac counts the potential dead money hits of players outside the top 51 salaries in their totals.

What about Kenny Pickett?

The only remaining draft pick left to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers is Kenny Pickett. After factoring in displacement, his contract will count approximately $1.99 million towards the salary cap based on the rookie pool estimate chart provided by OTC. Since this contract is not signed yet, it will not be included at this time until the precise dollar amounts are known. Even if taking these amounts into account, the Steelers would still have approximately $21.1 million left in salary cap space.

The Steelers will need as much as an additional $10.8 million come September when they need to account for all 53 players on the roster, sign their practice squad, and have some carryover in order to do business throughout the year as outlined in the following article:

Based on this number, the Steelers could have at least $10 million above what they need for the 2022 season based on previous years. Even though there could be some dead money in contracts with players not making the 53-man roster, it should be offset even more by larger contracts of players who are waived.

But there is one more expense that could add to the $5 million the Steelers like to take into the season (in years past). If the Steelers elevate players from the practice squad, they must receive a full game check. Taking this into account, along with increases in league-minimum salaries, the Steelers may want to carry as much as another $3 million into the season. For this reason, a more conservative estimate of what they have available would be more in the $7 million range.

Does something not make sense? Curious about any of the specifics? Leave your questions in the comments below and I will check in and do my best to answer them.

Naming rights between Steelers and Kraft-Heinz still ongoing, nothing imminent

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 06/17/2022 - 6:00am
Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have called Heinz Field home since it opened in 2001, but whether the stadium will still be called that has yet to be seen.

The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base is a group of individuals who are concerned about a lot of things. One of the things that’s been on their mind this offseason has been what they will call the stadium where their favorite team plays their home games in 2022?

As most fans know, the Heinz, now Kraft-Heinz, corporation signed a 20-year deal to keep the naming rights for the stadium since its opening in 2001. There was a one-year agreement made in 2021 which expired in February of 2022. Since that time, many have asked me, in a multitude of ways, whether there is any update on the naming rights for the stadium.

Short answer is no, there isn’t. This is the latest statement from Kraft-Heinz on the discussions which are ongoing.

“We are in discussions with the Steelers organization and are still considering our collaboration options. We’re proud of our 21 years of partnership to date,” the statement said. “Kraft Heinz is committed to our ongoing presence in and support of the Pittsburgh community, which remains our co-headquarters.”

As for the Steelers, they have been mum on the topic as well. This statement came from Steelers spokesperson Burt Lauten.

“We are focused primarily on conversations with Kraft Heinz about extending the current relationship. I don’t want to speculate anything beyond that,” Lauten said.

What was interesting is how the most recent statement from Kraft Heinz acknowledged the discussions and said the company hopes to finalize its plans in the next few months.

That was at the end of March, 2022.

With the season nearing, you have to wonder what the status is of the naming rights. Would the Steelers and Kraft-Heinz do another short-term deal, another one-year deal or a long-term deal to keep the stadium Heinz Field for the foreseeable future?

One thing is certain, naming rights for sporting venues has sky-rocketed recently. As examples, Crypto.com purchased the naming rights of the Los Angeles basketball arena for a reported $700 million, and SoFi bought the rights for a new Los Angeles football stadium for more than $600 million.

Fans want the stadium to remain Heinz Field for logical reasons, but if the name does change it is unlikely to be as devastating as some might expect. When you consider the Pittsburgh Penguins’ arena was originally Consol Energy Center, only to be changed to PPG Paints arena. Sure, there was an adjustment to this, but it ultimately was just the place the Penguins play.

The deadline for the season is nearing, so it seems safe to say there should be some news surrounding this story in the near future.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the start of training camp on July 26th at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Fri, 06/17/2022 - 4:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

The Pittsburgh Steelers seasons come and go with no real offseason, at least not for those diehard fans. For those fans, the preseason bleeds into the regular season, the regular season into the offseason, free agency and the NFL Draft. It is a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Nonetheless, we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the website but have decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest four podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

With that being said and typed, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show.

What Yinz Talkin’ Bout: Kenny and the QB Quesadilla

What Yinz Talkin’ Bout is the conversation about the Steelers social media conversation. Hosts Kyle Chrise (@KyleChrise) & Greg Benevent (@GregBenevent) expose the hottest and most toxic takes on social media. This week the battle for QB1 may all come down to a buffalo chicken quesadilla. Juju says goodbye and we look back at how he was treated by Steeler Nation. Plus, we break down the latest 53-man roster predictions, and the most important pickleball game ever in SWPA. Join Kyle and Greg for their black-and-gold breakdown of everything “Stillers” on Twitter and beyond.

Rundown of the show:

  • Toxic Takes
  • Much, Much More

Take a deep dive into the world of Steelers social media from a yinzer perspective as BTSC proudly presents a very unique show that highlights “What Yinz Talkin’ Bout”.

The Steelers Preview: What the Minkah deal tells us about Omar Khan?

Omar Khan has been the official GM for the Pittsburgh Steelers for less than a month and a huge splash has already been made by extending Minkah Fitzpatrick. Does this big move foreshadow his career as the decision maker for the Men of Steel? Join Jeff Hartman, Dave Schofield and Bryan Anthony Davis as they break all things black and gold down on the Steelers Preview.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Latest News
  • Omar Khan and his Steelers legacy so far
  • Minkah Mania
  • Trivia
Let’s Ride Friday: The Steelers sign Minkah, now what?

Omar Khan made a big move and inked Minkah Fitzpatrick to an extension even though the ink on his contract as the Steelers’ GM was barely dry. This begs a very important question. “What’s Next?” and it needs to be answered. This is the main topic that will be discussed on the latest episode of the morning flagship show in the BTSC family of podcasts with Senior Editor Jeff Hartman. Join Jeff for this and more on the Friday episode of “Let’s Ride”.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Hart to Heart
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeff Hartman of BTSC walks you through everything you need to know regarding the black-and-gold.

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

Going For Two: Mason Cole & James Daniels

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 06/16/2022 - 2:30pm
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Day 6 of Going For Two, featuring Mason Cole and James Daniels

Welcome to Going For Two! Over the 45 days leading up to the Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 training camp, we will be highlighting two players every day in order to cover the entire 90-man offseason roster. So without further ado, here are today’s two players:

Mason Cole Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Position: Offensive line
Age: 26
Year: 5
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 298
Drafted: 2018, Round 3, Rick 97 (Arizona Cardinals)
College: Michigan
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

Despite the Steelers listing Cole simply as an offensive lineman, he is an interior guy with the most work at center but is also guard capable. Joining the Steelers this offseason, Cole was the player with the lowest salary of those signed, including James Daniels and Chukwuma Okorafor. Although his roster spot is a lock, his starting position is not. While Mason Cole has the upper hand to be the Steelers starting center based on his 39 starts over four seasons, he still has to get the job done but has yet to give Steelers fans any reason to believe he won’t. At worst, Mason Cole offers quality competition along the interior of the Steelers offensive line, something that was not there last season.

James Daniels Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Position: Offensive line
Age: 24
Year: 5
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 327
Drafted: 2018, Round 2, Pick 39 (Chicago Bears)
College: Iowa
Roster Outlook: Lock
Analysis:

Of all the Steelers free agent acquisitions in the offseason, this one may have been both the most necessary and the most impactful for 2022. Bringing 48 starts in four seasons, Daniels is a former second-round draft pick that his previous team did not really want to let get away. Apparently already grabbing a leadership role with the young offensive line, Daniels should not only be a lock for the roster but for a starting position. While it is assumed that position is right guard at this time, it could ultimately be anywhere, most likely along the interior, to give the Steelers the best lineup.

Be sure to check back everyday for another two players for the Steelers, and as we go along click back on previous articles listed below so you don’t miss a thing.

Minkah Fitzpatrick outlines contract negotiations with Omar Khan and the Steelers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 06/16/2022 - 12:45pm
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers wasted little time getting a deal done with Minkah Fitzpatrick, and the All-Pro safety outlines how the deal was made.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have had turnover this offseason in many ways. Not only will the offense be turning the keys over to a new quarterback since 2004, but the start of the Omar Khan era as General Manager (GM) has officially begun.

Many fans assumed it would remain status quo with Khan at the helm. After all, most internal hires equate to few changes from their predecessor, but Khan has made it clear he is going to do things his way.

While this might end up being an outlier, Khan wasted little time getting the Steelers’ top priority, All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, locked up for the next five seasons. During Fitzpatrick’s press conference the day after signing his new deal, he talked about how negotiations took place.

“That is just what Omar and Mr. Rooney really wanted to do. They reached out a few weeks ago and said they’re ready to start the negotiation process and we sent an offer, they sent an offer first, we went back and forth a little while. I guess this is when they wanted to get it done.”

Unlike last offseason when T.J. Watt and his agents went back and forth for the vast majority of the offseason, Fitzpatrick and his representation didn’t have to squabble with Khan and Rooney. In fact, the new deal made Fitzpatrick the highest paid safety in the NFL. Fitzpatrick talked about what that meant to him.

“You would like to be paid in that way and represented in that way.” Fitzpatrick told media present at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex Thursday. “Somebody, it could be in a week from now, or it could be a year from now, somebody’s obviously gonna pass it up. You always want to raise the bar for the guys behind you. You want to raise the bar for the people in your own locker room. Mr. Rooney and Omar, they see the work that I put in and my play on field reflects that. They’re willing to make me that and obviously I’m appreciative.

“I think because I’ve done it there’s no pressure. That’s the standard that I hold myself to day-in and day-out. The standard that my teammates hold me to day-in and day-out. But no, I don’t think there’s any pressure. I mean obviously I’ve got to hold myself to that standard. But just the opportunity to prove that I am what I say I am.”

What some fans might not realize is how when the Steelers traded a first round draft pick for Fitzpatrick, they were getting a player who had never played the free safety position full-time. It was a learning process for the former Alabama standout.

“I think I evolved a lot. My first game as a Steeler in San Francisco was my first time really playing full-time free safety.” Fitzpatrick recalled. “My first few games in Miami I was kind of moving around a little bit and that was really the only time I played free safety before in the league. I played a few games in college. But I think from that time to now, I’ve learned the type of player that I am. I learned my strengths. I learned my weaknesses. I know what I need to work on. I know what I’m good at. And I feel like just being able to form my identity has really helped me evolve into the player that I am today. I’m still learning, still adapting, still growing, still trying to find new ways to get better and improve. But I think I’m a totally different player than I was a few years ago when I first got here.”

The switch from a roaming defensive back and pure free safety was one which not only was embraced by Fitzpatrick, but helped him form an identity within the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive system.

“I think it definitely helped me to form an identity because it is hard when you first get to a system and they ask you to move around. But part of that adapting is also learning other positions because once you get locked in, people know where you are. And we’ve kind of seen that happen the last year and a half. People know that and they get to choose not to throw there or look the other way when you get locked into one spot. We’re learning how to adapt to learn different positions and move around the field now that I’m comfortable and I know the type of player I am.”

The Steelers now have their three leaders, Cam Heyward, T.J. Watt and Fitzpatrick, all locked up for the next few seasons in hopes of building a dynamic defense capable of stealing games. The hope is Fitzpatrick becomes the playmaker he has been since joining the Steelers, and then some. With the financial aspect behind him now, all he has to focus on is playing winning football.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the offseason and the start of training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA on July 26th.

Minkah Fitzpatrick’s new deal eliminates one major concern for the Steelers this offseason

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 06/16/2022 - 11:52am
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

When the Steelers signed Minkah Fitzpatrick, they continued to demonstrate that they are willing to do all they can to keep their own stars in the fold.

The Steelers finally did it! That’s right, it was announced on Wednesday afternoon by several outlets that Pittsburgh inked safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to a new four-year contract extension that will pay him over $73 million with $36 million coming in the form of guaranteed money over the length of the deal.

I suppose I shouldn’t use words like “finally” to describe this deal, and that’s mainly because the negotiations between the Steelers, led by the new general manager, Omar Khan, and Fitzpatrick didn’t drag on until the 11th hour—or right before the start of the regular season, which was the case a year ago with the team and T.J. Watt.

The lack of apparent progress between the Steelers and Watt became a major concern and talking point for both the fans and the media last summer. The ongoing question was, would the Steelers, who had never been keen on guaranteeing money beyond the first year of a contract, break their own rule and set a new precedent for Watt?

The media wondered about this out loud. The fans wondered about this out loud (“Pay that man!” was a popular refrain on Twitter). Watt’s teammates even got in on the act by publicly pleading with their bosses to get a deal done. It wasn’t just about the guaranteed money, though. This was about guaranteeing hundreds of millions of dollars to a player, one who was their most valuable, true, but Watt certainly wasn’t a quarterback. He just so happened to be the most prolific pass-rushing outside linebacker in the NFL.

But the Steelers and Watt ultimately struck a deal (obviously), which did set a precedent—an $80 million in guaranteed money precedent. Would they continue down that road of breaking the bank and guaranteeing gobs of money in the future for star players?

The answer was a resounding “yes” with the Fitzpatrick deal. Fitzpatrick is now the highest-paid safety in NFL history (for now). The $36 million that the Steelers guaranteed him used to be the kind of money reserved for Ben Roethlisberger and only Ben Roethlisberger.

However, the Fitzpatrick deal, coming less than a year after the Watt record-setting contract, shows that the organization is willing to make new rules if it means keeping truly important and impactful players.

Pittsburgh now has its two most-valuable defenders inked to long-term deals that will keep them in black and gold for the duration of their primes—most likely.

That’s how you build a core. That’s how you set the foundation. That’s how you prepare yourself to be a major contender sooner rather than later. Furthermore, that’s how you create continuity and stability within your organization. Also, when the time comes to add a valuable piece during the next free-agent frenzy, this may demonstrate to a desirable prospect that this is the place to be if you want to win.

It remains to be seen if the Steelers are ever going to set a precedent and break open the piggy bank in a big way to bring outside free agents into the fold, but at least we now know that they’re still willing to do whatever it takes to hold onto their own.

As for the next talking point, when’s Diontae Johnson going to get paid?

Steelers Vertex: Can Derrek Tuszka be the needed depth on the edge?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 06/16/2022 - 10:00am
Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

After catching on with the Steelers in 2021, is Tuszka a player who can be the third piece in the rotation at OLB?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are chugging on through the 2022 offseason. Looking at a number of players and positions as the roster has fluctuated, sometimes it’s players the Steelers have on their roster taking a step that can really add to the coming season. While players who are in a starting role are important, so are those who serve in other capacities. While the Steelers are set at the starting position at outside linebacker, is Derrek Tuszka a player who can add the needed depth? This is the subject for this week’s Steelers Vertex.

Let’s get a quick reminder of where this nerdiness is coming from.

Vertex- a single point where two or more lines cross.

Sometimes to make a great point, it takes two different systems of analysis to come together and build off each other in order to drawl a proper conclusion. In this case, the two methods are statistical analysis and film breakdown. Enter Dave Schofield (the stat geek) and Geoffrey Benedict (the film guru) to come together to prove a single point based on our two lines of thinking.

Here comes the breakdown from two different lines of analysis.

The Stats Line:

A seventh-round draft pick in 2020 by the Denver Broncos, Derrek Tuszka did not initially make their 53-man roster his rookie season. Landing on the practice squad, Tuszka was called up several weeks later and appeared in nine games for the Broncos. During that time, he only played 27 snaps on defense with 177 special team snaps.

Once again not making the 53-man roster to start the 2021 season, this time the Pittsburgh Steelers swooped in and signed Tuszka to their practice squad. After elevating Tuszka for the Week 3 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals in which he played 27 snaps on defense, the Steelers made the decision to sign Tuszka to the 53-man roster in place of Jamir Jones.

Active for each game the remainder of the season, Derrek Tuszka played 247 defensive snaps and 194 special team snaps. On the season, he had 2.0 sacks, one forced fumble, and 18 tackles. According to Pro Football Reference, Tuszka had two missed tackles on the season as well as giving up a touchdown as the primary defender against the Kansas City Chiefs. It should be noted that Pro Football Focus (PFF) did not credit Tuszka with surrendering the touchdown in their statistics.

On the season, Tuszka finished with a PFF score of 63.7 but did not qualify for an overall position ranking due to his number of snaps played. With scores ranging from a 92.7 against the Tennessee Titans to a 34.8 against the Chicago Bears, it was often a ‘feast or famine’ performance for Tuszka throughout the season according to PFF.

With the numbers telling so little of the story, it’s time to check the film.

The Film Line:

Derrek Tuszka didn’t get to start the season with the Steelers, and it showed in his play early on. Tuszka was fourth on the depth chart heading into Week 10, behind T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith and Taco Charlton, a player who also was not in camp, and was elevated to the active roster to replace Melvin Ingram. When T.J. Watt and later Taco Charlton left the Week 10 game against the Detroit Lions, the Steelers called on Derrek Tuszka to man T.J. Watt’s spot in the defense for the end of the 4th quarter and all of overtime.

Steelers vs. Lions, 4th quarter, 0:57.

Derrek Tuszka (#48) is the edge defender to the right side of the screen.

You can see the hesitation here. Tuszka is thinking on his feet and playing tentatively. That’s a great way to get pushed around on a football field.

Steelers vs. Lions, Overtime, 9:54.

Derrek Tuszka (#48) is the edge defender to the right side of the screen.

Tuszka is reading run to start the play, but you can see he doesn’t really have a plan. He meets the tight end and just dances with him a bit.

His play for much of the season was a bit slow and far too passive. That was fine when he was playing a few garbage-time snaps a game but when the Steelers needed him to play more, his lack of comfort in the defense was a problem. Despite that the Steelers needed him to play, and it didn’t take too long for him to catch up and play better.

Steelers vs. Titans, 1st quarter, 5:34.

Derrek Tuszka (#48) is the edge defender to the right side of the screen.

He has a plan here, he engages, wins the inside of the block, then sheds to get in on the tackle. If you look to Tuszka’s left you can see Chris Wormley getting driven backwards. Watch Wormley’s hands, he has a plan. He’s trying to slow the play, and win the outside of the block. He does get his outside hand free, but the lineman is driving him outside and downfield so it doesn’t much matter.

I pointed that out because you can contrast Wormley here to Tuszka above and see that Wormley has a plan and is just getting beat. Tuszka didn’t have a plan. His comfort level on the defense is in a much better place five weeks after the Detroit game, and he’s becoming a solid contributor.

Steelers vs. Titans, 4th quarter, 0:53.

Derrek Tuszka (#48) is the edge defender to the left side of the screen.

First let’s set the stage. There are 53 seconds left and the Steelers with a six-point lead. T.J. Watt has been playing the entire drive. After a particularly tough tackle on D’onta Foreman, Watt is taken off the field. This is the next play. What is incredible here is the design of this rush is something you see with T.J. Watt a lot. The alignment before the snap and the two players who drop create a situation where it is almost impossible to send help to the player blocking T.J. Watt. It’s a four-man rush, but it forces the offensive line to read players that aren’t rushing, and with all three players on the left coming there’s no help on the edge.

Only that’s not T.J. Watt, that’s Derrek Tuszka doing a dang good T.J. Watt impression for one snap. Watt would return the next play, but Tuszka in his one snap on a game defining drive turned a 2nd and 7 into a 3rd and 15, and they would need every inch of that, as the drive would end on 4th and 6 when Joe Haden tackled a Titans receiver close enough to the first down line that it took a replay to get the spot right and the Steelers a hard-fought win.

An impressive play, but that Titans game, while you could call it his breakout game, and that strip sack of Ryan Tannehill probably the most impactful play of his career, his best game was two weeks later against the Cleveland Browns.

Steelers vs. Browns, 2nd quarter, 10:32.

Derrek Tuszka (#48) is the edge defender to the bottom of the screen.

Here’s another play where Tuszka starts the play reading the offense. You can see his processing speed is much faster, and he knows what he needs to do. He wins the battle with the tight end and with help from Terrell Edmunds, holds Nick Chubb to a one-yard gain.

Steelers vs. Browns, 4th quarter, 9:25.

Derrek Tuszka (#48) is the edge defender to the bottom of the screen.

Derrek Tuszka doesn’t always sack quarterbacks, but when he does, it’s on key fourth quarter drives. The Browns, after witnessing first hand the power of the Tuszka, self-destructed and would punt from their own 5 yard line. That would put the Steelers in Field Goal range on the next drive, and with Boswell converting the Steelers increased their lead from 9 to 12.

It bears mentioning that the player blocking Tuszka here gave up three sacks on the game, the other two to T.J. Watt. But playing only 16 snaps against Cleveland Tuszka recorded two solo tackles and a sack. Pretty good impact in limited play.

The Point:

Derrek Tuszka also plays special teams, which is a big part of being a backup linebacker. You can see that his run defense success largely came against tight ends, and he didn’t drop into coverage much, so while he has some nice highlights it is important to keep that in context.

Tuszka took some time to gain comfort in the defense and play confidently and aggressively. But once that happened, he was a solid contributor to the Steelers. The question for 2022 is if he can grow into a player who can be the 3rd outside linebacker.

How does the Steelers record setting pass rush rank in team history?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 06/16/2022 - 8:30am
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Comparing the Steelers pass rush under Keith Butler to team history.

The Steelers have led the NFL, or tied for the lead, each of the last five seasons. The Steelers drafted T.J. Watt in 2017. That season Keith Butler’s blitzing defense led the NFL in sacks, setting a Steeler franchise record with 56 sacks. The Steelers then recorded between 52 and 56 sacks each of the next four seasons, no team had more sacks in any of those seasons.

The previous record for leading the NFL in sacks in consecutive seasons was three, meaning the Steelers already owned the record and added to it in 2021. In that sense, the Pittsburgh Steelers of 2017-2021 stand above every other team in NFL history in sacking the quarterback. But while the Steelers have led the NFL in sacks the last five years, forty-six other NFL teams have beat the Steelers single-season franchise record of 56 (2017, 2020). Teams just aren’t getting 60 or 70 sacks in a season anymore.

Comparing teams from different eras

It isn’t easy to compare teams that played in very different time periods. It’s hard to compare individual players from different time periods. So many things change across the NFL, number of teams, number of games in a season, changes in the rules, evolutions in offensive and defensive strategy. It makes it tough to compare the Steelers in 2021 to the Steelers of 1975.

There’s no perfect way to adjust for differences over time, but one of the best is to find a way to compare a team to its peers that can then be used to compare teams of different time periods. For example, it’s easy to compare teams across time periods based on whether they won a Super Bowl or not. The argument isn’t hard to make that a team that was the best team in 1970 should be ranked above any team from any other year that wasn’t the best team in their time. In the same way we can say the Steelers leading the league in sacks five seasons in a row mean they have the best 5-year run of any team by sacks.

But we can do better than that. Another way to adjust across time is to compare production to league average. This isn’t hard to do. Take the number of sacks that happened in an NFL season, divide it by the number of teams in the NFL that season, and you get the average sacks per team for that season. Divide any team’s sack count by that average and you will get that team’s percentage of league average sacks.

For example, Dick LeBeau’s last season in the NFL the 2014 Steelers recorded 33 sacks. That year across the NFL there were 1212 sacks. Divide 1212 by 32 teams in the NFL that season and you get 37.9. Divide 33 by 37.9 and you get .871. Meaning that in 2014 the Steelers recorded only 87.1% of the sacks that an average NFL team would. It also makes sense why the Steelers asked LeBeau to retire from the position after that season. 2014 happened to be the 2nd lowest percentage of average sacks the Steelers recorded since Bill Cowher took over the team, the lowest was in 2013, when the Steelers recorded 34 sacks, but the NFL average was higher at 40.5 sacks per team.

Now that we have a measurement for how to compare teams from different time periods, let’s get to the actual numbers.

The best seasons for sacks in Steelers history

Armed with a tool to compare any season to any other season in NFL history, we can look at the best seasons in Steelers history for sacks. The best ranking of the last five years comes in 2020, when the Steelers tied their 2017 franchise record of 56 sacks, but in a season where sacks dropped 5% across the NFL. That 2020 season ranks 3rd in Steelers history, while the 2017 season ranks 5th. In between those two teams, with 51 sacks and a Super Bowl Championship, sits one of the greatest defenses of all time, the 2008 Steelers.

That very quickly gives us three of the top 5 Steelers teams for sacks. The top 2 come from different eras and represent a couple of very good and iconic defenses. In 1994 the Steelers would fall one game short of reaching the Super Bowl, but recorded 55 sacks, leading the NFL for the season by a good margin. It still annoys me that the Steelers were by far the best passing defense in the NFL that season, and lost to a run-first team in the AFC Championship, and that team was blown out in the Super Bowl by a team that threw the ball a ton. Would have loved to see Rod Woodson covering Jerry Rice and Lloyd and Green terrorizing Steve Young in the Super Bowl. But enough about the biggest disappointment of my teenage years. Let’s move on to the #1 team.

Everyone should be able to guess the #1 team within a few guesses. We’d probably get a good number of 1976 guesses, and some 1978 guesses as well, but while those teams led the NFL in scoring defense, it was the 1974 Steelers that led the NFL in sacks. It was the only season a Chuck Noll coached team would pull that off. Those 1974 Steelers got after the quarterback at a ridiculous pace, recording 52 sacks in 14 games, the equivalent of 61.7 sacks in a 16 game season, or 65.6 over 17 games.

So while the 2017 and 2020 Steelers share the Steelers franchise record for sacks, it is the 1974 Steelers, with 3.9 sacks per game that were the most productive, per game and compared to the rest of the NFL.

Here’s the top 10 seasons for sacks in Steelers history, compared to their peers.

Three of the Steelers last five seasons rank in the top ten all-time for the franchise. The 2018 and 2019 seasons rank 15th and 14th respectively.

Looking at those top ten teams, you see all three of the Pittsburgh Steelers post-merger coaches represented, as well as a variety of defensive coordinators. To add one more thing, I wanted to list the teams with their coaches, defensive coordinators and team leader in sacks.

Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher each show up three times, Mike Tomlin shows up four. Bud Carson and Dick LeBeau show up twice each, Keith Butler three times. T.J. Watt is the only player to show up more than once on this list.

In 2022 we will get to see if Mike Tomlin, Teryl Austin and T.J. Watt can continue the streak and maybe knock the 1972 Steelers out of the top 10. I don’t know if it will happen, but I really enjoy this list as it captures a lot of the Steelers pass rushing legends as well as one crazy year from Ernie Holmes, and a couple of players who stepped up in the 1982 strike season.

The possible salary cap implications of Minkah Fitzpatrick’s new deal

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 06/16/2022 - 7:15am
Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Without a full breakdown of the contract, there are a few scenarios which will determine Fitzpatrick’s cap hit in 2022.

On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced they agreed to a five-year contract with All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. While Steelers’ Nation prepared for contract negotiations to drag out through the preseason, it is a welcomed sight to know that one of the Steelers key defenders is locked in through the 2026 season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers official press release stated it was a five-year contract and that the financial terms were not disclosed at this time. Before the announcement, it was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Fitzpatrick signed a four-year extension worth $18.4 million per year and $36 million guaranteed.

Steelers and All-Pro S Minkah Fitzpatrick reached agreement on a massive four-year contract extension worth over $18.4 million per year, with $36M gtd at signing, per source. The deal, negotiated and confirmed by @WME_Sports, makes Fitzpatrick the highest paid S in NFL history. pic.twitter.com/Rnb0jJWGoM

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 15, 2022

Another number which was thrown out during all the craziness as the breaking news the Fitzpatrick deal was coming out was a total of $73.6 million. This came via Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

The new highest-paid safety in the NFL, Minkah Fitzpatrick is now locked in for 4 years, more than $73.6M, with more than $36M guaranteed upon signing. Very good news for a rising safety market. https://t.co/T8NSxsp9y7

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 15, 2022

Although at first glance some of these numbers may seem contradictory, they all line up. The dollar amounts make sense as $18.4 million over four years equals $73.6 million. With the Steelers reporting a five-year contract and others reporting a four-year extension, this simply means that the numbers associated with the $73.6 million total is “new money” and do not include Minkah Fitzpatrick‘s $10.612 million he was set to receive in 2022.

With all these things in mind, the best way to look at Minkah Fitzpatrick‘s contract over the next five years, based on reports, is as follows:

Total Money: $84.212 million ($73.6 million + $10.612 million)
Total Years: 5 years
Total Guaranteed Money: $36 million

So what does this mean for the Steelers 2022 salary cap? It used to be estimating a player’s salary cap hit based on the reported numbers was fairly easy because of how the Steelers did business. But with the contract signed by T.J. Watt in 2021, the Steelers did something they did not typically do in contracts— gave guaranteed money beyond the first year. Since we don’t know exactly how the guaranteed money is broken down at this time, I’ll look at two different possibilities as to how it would play out and the implications on the salary cap. Remember, these are estimates and speculations based on the given numbers.

Business as Usual

When reports would emerge about contracts signed by members of the Pittsburgh Steelers, it used to be the same formula to plug-in how to look for the salary cap hit the first season. With the Steelers only guaranteeing the contract for the first year, a report of guaranteed money would be the addition of two items: First year base salary + signing bonus. In order to keep the salary cap hit down for the first year, the base salary was usually at or just above the minimum salary for that player based on their years of service.

For Minkah Fitzpatrick in 2022, the minimum NFL salary is $1.035 million. If utilizing this equation, and throwing in an extra $35k above what was reported as the guaranteed money, that would leave $35 million in a signing bonus.

if the Pittsburgh Steelers set up Minkah Fitzpatrick contract in this way, it means he got approximately the same signing bonus for TJ Watt did the previous year. The difference would be white had more guaranteed money and a higher base salary in the additional years. If this was how things worked out for Patrick, he would have an average of just over $12 million as his base salary for the remaining four seasons. Well the years probably weren’t even with each season, that’s just a good number to keep in mind.

If this is ultimately how the Steelers structured Fitzpatrick’s contract, his salary cap hit for 2022 would be $8.035 million. With his cap hit before the contract at $10.612 million, it means the Steelers would be saving $2.577 million on the 2022 salary cap.

Before moving on to another scenario, it should be noted that if the reports were correct and the Steelers only guaranteed money the first year, this is the maximum salary cap hit you would see for Fitzpatrick. Any other scenario is going to have a salary cap hit that is less in 2022. Therefore, it is safe to estimate that Minkah Fitzpatrick will save at least $2.5 million on the 2022 salary cap. This is also operating under the assumption that he will be receiving the league minimum as a base salary in 2022.

Two Guaranteed Seasons

Based on the report of $36 million being guaranteed to Fitzpatrick in his contract, it is highly possible he received two years of guaranteed money. It’s safe to say the guaranteed money did not spread out to three years because it would mean there was a widely disproportional amount of non-guaranteed base salary at the end of his contract. Exactly how much? If there were three years of guaranteed money, Minkah Fitzpatrick would have non-guaranteed base salaries of an average of $24 million each year of his final two years of his contract. If there was no signing bonus for Fitzpatrick, that would mean he was getting $12 million guaranteed for the first three years and $24 million guaranteed for the last two years. These numbers simply don’t sound like a contract the Steelers would make.

If there are two years of guaranteed money that make up the $36 million that was reportedly guaranteed for Minkah Fitzpatrick, the ultimate factor is how much was a signing bonus and how much is his base salary for 2023?

Once again, this will operate under the assumption that Fitzpatrick will have a base salary in 2022 of the league minimum $1.035 million and we are throwing in the extra $35k as extra once again to give easier numbers to estimate.

This leaves $35 million left on the contract between the signing bonus and the 2023 base salary. While it would be easy to do a $20 million signing bonus and a $15 million base salary in 2023, I’m going to adjust that number a little bit more towards the signing bonus. Why do you ask? Before Minkah Fitzpatrick signed his contract, the highest paid safety was Jamal Adams on the Seattle Seahawks. Signing his contract in 2021, Adams had a $20 million signing bonus. Because Minkah‘s deal is a little bit higher than Adams’, I’m going to say he had a $21 million signing bonus which would leave $14 million as his base salary in 2023.

Based on these numbers, Minkah Fitzpatrick would carry a $5.235 million salary cap hit for 2022. If this is the case, Fitzpatrick‘s contract actually saves the Steelers $5.377 million in immediate cap relief assuming that all these numbers are perfect, which they are not.

Based on Fitzpatrick having two years of guaranteed money, the base salary for the final three years of a contract would average just over $16 million a season. Because of this number, the $15 million base salary for 2023 and $20 million salary cap hit might have been the better numbers to go with. If so, Fitzpatrick‘s 2022 cap hit would be even lower at $5.035 million and would save $5.577 million in cap space.

It’s All About the Signing Bonus

There is one key item of these estimations that was consistent in both and that was Fitzpatrick’s base salary for 2022. If the deal ultimately has a significantly higher base salary, which isn’t typically how these things work with the Steelers, then Fitzpatrick‘s cap hit this season would creep higher.

If the estimated base salary for Fitzpatrick is close, what ultimately will cause his salary cap number to go higher is the amount of the signing bonus. Knowing it can’t be any more than $35 million, which was the first scenario described, we have a pretty good idea as to the ceiling of Fitzpatrick‘s cap hit this year. If there were two years of guaranteed money, exactly how the cap hit shakes out will come down to how much of that was a signing bonus versus how much is the second year’s base salary. The higher the signing bonus, the higher the 2022 cap hit. But if that signing bonus goes down, so will the cap number for this season.

Once the exact breakdown of Minkah Fitzpatrick’s deal is reported, look for a salary cap update here at Behind The Steel Curtain.

For more information on the possible salary cap numbers for Minkah Fitzpatrick after his new contract with the Steelers, check out the latest Steelers Stat Geek podcast below:

Steelers players, both current and former, react to Minkah Fitzpatrick’s new deal

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 06/16/2022 - 6:00am
Kareem Elgazzar via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Pittsburgh Steelers got their All-Pro safety locked up for the next five years, and there was plenty of reaction to the move.

It was thought the Pittsburgh Steelers would be taking a T.J. Watt approach to the contract of Minkah Fitzpatrick. When talking about approach, more specifically talking about timing. if you recall, Watt’s deal wasn’t done until the week before the team’s 2021 regular season opener against the Buffalo Bills.

After Fitzpatrick followed Watt’s hold-in approach to mandatory minicamp, fans were prepared for a lengthy negotiation between the two parties. Lo and behold, the Steelers gave Fitzpatrick a 4-year contract extension making him the highest paid safety in the NFL, at the moment.

Done deal. ✍️ pic.twitter.com/mLsThSrdhg

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 15, 2022

Grateful for this organization and honored to be a part of this city…@steelers nowhere I’d rather play!!!#HereWeGo https://t.co/ONC3nvNrW4

— Minkah Fitzpatrick (@minkfitz_21) June 15, 2022

After the signing of the contract, there were plenty of teammates, both current and former, who took to Twitter to celebrate the new contract for Fitzpatrick. Below you will see several players who took to social media to congratulate the All-Pro safety for his well-deserved contract.

(Editor’s Note: This article will be updated as more players take to social media talking about the deal. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for training camp.)

DESERVED! Congrats bro @minkfitz_21 https://t.co/8EeukC4743

— Alex Highsmith (@highsmith34) June 15, 2022

Congrats @minkfitz_21 https://t.co/W00Wsolk79

— Ramon Foster (@RamonFoster) June 15, 2022

Earned!!! https://t.co/bSjMYeJqzR

— TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) June 15, 2022

The Steelers got Mink for a steal.He took a team friendly deal. Unselfish, team player.

— Vince Williams (@VinnyVidiVici98) June 15, 2022

Steelers players historically take less money than they are worth on the open market. Speaks volumes to the work environment. Solid front office, great head coach, players want to play there.

— Vince Williams (@VinnyVidiVici98) June 15, 2022

Deserve every bit too https://t.co/uuza1dKcVJ

— Najee Harris (@ohthatsNajee22) June 15, 2022

Yesssssssiiiirrrrrrrrr!!!! https://t.co/M7Y3nF0A3p

— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) June 15, 2022

Mood @minkfitz_21 pic.twitter.com/S2o7p3UA1f

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 15, 2022

*breathes in*
*breathes out*

Today is a good day pic.twitter.com/UGwVBHG8uv

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 15, 2022

.@minkfitz_21 talks about signing a new five-year contract, the defense and more. ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/KTHgJHpB3Y

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 15, 2022

Podcast Roundup: All the latest of the BTSC family podcasts

Behind the Steel Curtain - Thu, 06/16/2022 - 4:30am

Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.

The Pittsburgh Steelers seasons come and go with no real offseason, at least not for those diehard fans. For those fans, the preseason bleeds into the regular season, the regular season into the offseason, free agency and the NFL Draft. It is a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Nonetheless, we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the website but have decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest three podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.

With that being said and typed, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show.

The War Room: The added benefit of adding Chris Oladokun

Check out BTSC’s Aussie perspective and stay a while with Matt Peverell in The Steelers War Room. Join Matty P. for his solo show as he examines the ins-and-outs of the Steelers in an attempt to put you in the mind of Art Rooney II, Mike Tomlin, Omar Khan, Brandon Hunt and Kevin Colbert when it comes to personnel. This week, Matty examines the Chris Oladokun pick, his development and improvement in college, and what he might offer the Steelers.

Rundown of the show:

  • The benefits of drafting Chris Oladokun
  • Much More

Check out the BTSC’s Aussie perspective and stay a while with Matty in The Steelers War Room.

The Steelers Curtain Call: Can Mark Robinson go from running back to Steeler Linebacker?

It’s the show where Geoffrey Benedict and Shannon White break down a black and gold off-season full of change in the manner in which they examine the enemy. Scenarios, questions and more will be pondered on the latest episode of the BTSC family of podcasts. This time around, Geoff and Shannon discuss Marcus Robinson’s arrival in the Steelers’ 2022 Draft.

  • News and Notes
  • A look at Mark Robinson

Geoffrey and Shannon walk you through everything you need to know regarding the Black-and-Gold.

The Steelers Stat Geek: The Minkah Fitzpatrick’s Contract, Behind the Digits

Minkah Fitzpatrick became the highest paid safety in NFL history, at least for now. With total amounts of new money, as well as reports of how much of the contract was guaranteed, what are the different scenarios of how the money could be distributed and what it would do to the Steelers’ 2022 salary cap?

Thank goodness for the Stat Geek to break it all “dahn”. This is just one of the topics that will be discussed by Dave Schofield on the Thursday episode of the AM podcast lineup, “The Steelers Stat Geek”. Join BTSC’s Editor as he pulls out the Steelers slide rule and geeks out only like he can.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • Possible salary cap numbers for Minkah Fitzpatrick
  • The best TD to INT ratio in Steelers history
  • and more geeky numbers!

Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

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