Steelers to reportedly decline 5th-year option on Terrell Edmunds

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Chris Adamski, The Tribune-Review, Greensburg
·3 min read
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May 3—Last week, word broke that the Pittsburgh Steelers were picking up the fifth-year option on one of their starting safeties. On Monday, it emerged they are not doing so with the other first-round safety from the 2018 draft class.

The 2022 team option on Terrell Edmunds will be declined, according to a report from the NFL Network. Edmunds would have been guaranteed $6.75 million if the option had been exercised. The league deadline for doing so was Monday.

Last Tuesday, the Steelers picked up the option on starting free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Because of the formula used per the NFL/NFLPA collective bargaining agreement, Fitzpatrick's fifth-year option is worth $10.61 million.

Fitzpatrick was taken 11th overall in 2018 by the Miami Dolphins, and the Steelers took Edmunds 17 picks later. In September 2019, the Steelers sent a first-round pick to the Dolphins to acquire Fitzpatrick, who was named first-team AP All-Pro in each of his two seasons with the Steelers.

Edmunds' usage declined to 84% of the team's defensive snaps in 2020 after it approached 95% in his first two seasons. The Steelers began replacing Edmunds in some subpackages as last season progressed.

Still, it comes as a marginal surprise the Steelers did not exercise an option at what is a reasonable rate for a veteran starting player. Still only 24 years old, Edmunds was graded as the NFL's 17th-best among the 64 safeties who played at least 569 snaps last season.

The Steelers also do not have an obvious in-house future replacement for Edmunds. They are thin on experience at safety beyond Edmunds and Fitzpatrick, though they added a seventh-round pick in Tre Norwood and two undrafted free agents to the position room Saturday.

Edmunds was a surprising pick when the Steelers took him late in the first round in 2018, but the team made little effort to hide they were targeting a safety. Most draft publications pegged Edmunds as a mid-round pick.

Edmunds has been solid but hardly spectacular, particularly when it comes to big plays. The 6-foot-1, 217-pounder has just three interceptions, two sacks, four tackles for loss and zero forced fumbles in three seasons. However, his fourth-down blitz and sack of Jeff Driskel late in a Week 2 game against the Denver Broncos sealed a victory last year.

Those plays, though, apparently came too few and far between for the Steelers liking.

Edmunds still can sign an extension over the next 11 months. He is due $1.9 million in salary with a $3.4 million cap hit in 2021.

Edmunds becomes only the third of nine players for whom the Steelers did not pick up the fifth-year option since that structure was instituted for first-round picks in 2011. He joins Jarvis Jones (2013 draft) and Artie Burns (2016) in that distinction.

Edmunds, perhaps, subtly responded to the news on his verified Twitter account. He retweeted the Buffalo Bills announcing they had picked up the option on his brother, Tremaine. Terrell Edmunds also posted an image of a song by Pooh Shiesty, "Back in Blood," that includes lyrics in its refrain that say, "I got my own fire, don't need security."

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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at cadamski@triblive.com or via Twitter .