News of the Stephon Tuitt retirement hit Twitter this afternoon.  The Steelers outstanding defensive end made it official via an announcement on social media Wednesday afternoon.

Setting the personal side of this situation aside, this is a huge blow for the Pittsburgh Steelers defense this upcoming season.  When right. Tuitt is one of the top 3/4 defensive ends in all of football.  This is a unit that struggled mightily last season, particularly against the run.  Replacing him will be a tall task for new general manager Omar Khan.

This late in the off-season, the free agent names are less than stellar.  A stopgap measure like Ndamukong Suh, or Carlos Dunlap are names to watch.  Both are free agents that would presumably come at a reasonable price.   The trade route could be another way of filling the rather large hole created by Tuitt retiring.

New Assistant General Manager Andy Weidl should be on the phone talking to his former coworkers in Philadelphia to gauge interest in trading old friend Javon Hargrave.  Hargrave is in the last year of his contract, and the Eagles might be interested in getting something for him before he exits in 2023.  An argument could be made that this would actually be an upgrade for the defense.  Hargrave knows the defense, is younger, and hasn’t missed an entire season unlike Tuitt.

The next few weeks promise to be fascinating on how the Steelers react to the Stephon Tuitt retirement.  Omar Khan and his new front office group are being tested right from the start.   Omar Khan being named Steelers GM brings more questions than answers  How they deal with this will be a good gauge on how things will work going forward.  The sudden retirement of Stephon Tuitt has put the success of the Steelers 2022 season in question.  We will learn a lot about this team, and the front office in the coming weeks.