With the Steelers palyoff hopes dwindling by the week, its a good time to take a peek at next year’s free agent crop.  Steelers season is over, time to start thinking about 2022   The list of potential Steelers 2022 free agents is a long one.  Pittsburgh has 19 pending free agents for next season.  Here is the complete list of unrestricted free agents for this off-season:

Ben Roethlisberger 

Joe Haden

Ju Ju Smith-Schuster

Eric Ebron

Akhello Witherspoon

Trai Turner

Terrell Edmunds 

Miles Killebrew 

James Washington 

Josh Dobbs

Ray-Ray Mcloud

B J Finney

Arthur Maulet 

Kalen Ballage

Chuks Okorafor 

Dwayne Haskins

Marcus Allen

Robert Spillane

J C Hassenauer

There is sure to be significant turnover for this franchise next season.  That list represents almost half of an NFL roster.  Let’s predict who will stay, and who will go for 2022:

Must go:

Ebron, Finney, Maulet, Hassenauer, Turner

Anyone associated with this offensive line is a candidate to not be asked back.  Finney and Hassenhauer are backups at a position in desperate need of an upgrade.  The Eric Ebron experiment went exactly as predicted. Some flashes in the passing game, absolutely atrocious as a run blocker.  He will not be asked back next season.  Turner was a nice stopgap at guard, but his time has past.

Ummmm maybe:

Roethlisberger, Haden, Okorafor,

We are not buying all the reports that Ben Roethlisberger is considering retirement.  The day he stands in front of a podium and announces it is the day we will believe it, not a minute before then.  If he indeed decides he wants to play in 2022, the Steelers will absolutely oblige him.

As far as the others in this group it really comes down to which of them is willing to sign a team friendly deal.  Pittsburgh would be delighted to have Haden back on a one year deal.  Okorafor would be a good value at the tackle position provided some other team doesn’t swoop in and decide to make a big offer.  It’s not likely, but stranger things have happened.

Take them or leave them:

Allen, Haskins, Ballage, Mcloud, Washington, Dobbs

This group is about 50/50 to be back in Pittsburgh next season.  Washington ‘s return will depend a lot on what happens to Smith-Schuster.  It’s not likely he comes back to be the fourth receiver once again.

Most wanted:

Killebrew, Spillane, Witherspoon, Smith-Schuster,

Ju Ju Smith-Schuster has to be the number one guy for the Steelers 2022 free agents.  This team only has two receivers under contract after this season.  Resigning Ju Ju takes one less thing off their considerably long list of needs.  Whether or not he would even want to come back to Pittsburgh again is another issue.  That may depend largely on if Roethlisberger is back.

Witherspoon has played well enough the last few games to warrant a resigning.  If he continues to play like this the rest of the season, he may move to the top of the must have list.  Spillane  and Killebrew are key role players you’d ideally love to have back.  Killebrew in particular has been a phenomenal special teams player for the Steelers.   He’s worth a little more than they would ordinarily pay a bottom of the roster player.