A week ago a report emerged that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be picking up the fifth-year option on free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, which will cost them $10.612 million in 2022.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network/NFL.com, the Steelers do not plan to pick up the fifth-year option for fellow safety Terrell Edmunds, which would cost the team $6.573 million in 2022. Both players were first-round picks in 2018, with Fitzpatrick selected No. 11 overall by the Miami Dolphins and Edmunds the Steelers’ first-rounder at No. 28.
The #Steelers are declining the fifth-year option on safety Terrell Edmunds, per source.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 3, 2021
As such, Edmunds, still only 24, is on a path towards unrestricted free agency following the 2021 season, though the Steelers could still try to sign him to an extension before then—or try to retain him when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The latest Steelers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Steelers newsletter here!
Join Heavy on Steelers!
One might argue that the cost of Fitzpatrick’s fifth-year option—which inflated to $10.612 million by virtue of twice being named first-team All-Pro—affected the decision on Edmunds. In other words, the Steelers simply may not have wanted to commit to spending more than $17 million in 2022 on their starting safeties (alone).
Meanwhile, both players remain a relative bargain in 2021, especially Fitzpatrick, who is scheduled to earn a base salary of $2,722,878 in and count the same amount against the cap. For his part, Edmunds stands to earn $1,938,789 in salary in 2021, with a salary cap number of $3,403,842.
Mike Tomlin: Edmunds’ ‘Best Ability is Availability’
Entering 2020, most NFL analysts regarded Edmunds as an average starting strong safety, at best. But he is coming off his best season to date, one in which he had 68 tackles (46 solo), plus two interceptions, eight passes defensed and a sack.
On the other hand, in the middle of last season Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin stated that Edmunds’ “best ability is availability,” which in hindsight could be viewed as a backhanded compliment (though it probably wasn’t intended that way).
Terrell ‘Rell Money’ Edmunds Has Been Making Music This Offseason
Meanwhile, Edmunds has spent some of this offseason trying to make inroads in terms of a music career. In January, he released a video for his song “We Ride,” which is featured on a seven-album titled F1rst Quarter. More recently, he teased the release of the My Element EP, which features four tracks, including “Speaking from the Heart” and “So.”
Trey Edmunds Will Be Back in 2021, Too
Of course, Terrell isn’t the only Edmunds brother with a place on Pittsburgh’s roster. In January the Steelers signed running back Trey Edmunds to a one-year Future/Reserve contract, three days after waiving him in the wake of the playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns.
Trey Edmunds has been with the Steelers on and off since September 2018. He failed to make the 53-man roster out of training camp in 2020 but was quickly signed to the practice squad and elevated for the victories over the Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans (when ‘starting’ fullback Derek Watt was out with a hamstring issue).
The 26-year-old was released in early November, then re-signed three days later when now retired tight end Vance McDonald was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. But he suffered a hamstring injury against the Cincinnati Bengals on November 15th and was placed on injured reserve after missing the win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, which explains why he had to be waived at the conclusion of the season.
Follow the Heavy on Steelers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
• Steelers Receive League-Worst Draft Grade from ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.