Steelers Free Agent Makes It Clear To Fans He Is Trying To Return To Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Steelers had the luxury of not having any extremely impactful free agents hitting the open market following the 2023 season. The two most important names on the Steelers 2023 roster that had their contracts expiring following the season were Mason Rudolph and Miles Killebrew. The Steelers managed to re-sign Killebrew, but they let Rudolph walk, and he eventually signed with the Tennessee Titans. There were some other late season additions that hit free agency, including safety Eric Rowe, who has been reassuring fans that he is trying to return to Pittsburgh.

Former DB Wants to Return to Steelers

Rowe has had an illustrious career thus far in the NFL, he was an important member of two Super Bowl winning teams for the New England Patriots. When he joined Pittsburgh in the middle of the 2023 season he instantly became one of the players on the team with the postseason experience. The Steelers initially signed him to their practice squad on November 20th, and he was eventually activated for the last three games of the regular season, and he started all three. He was an important member of the Steelers late-season run, and he has publicly stated he wants to come back when a fan asked if he was returning to Pittsburgh.

The Steelers have already signed safety DeShon Elliott during the 2024 offseason, but Rowe proved to be a valuable depth piece in 2023. In his three regular season starts Rowe had 29 total tackles, an interception, two passes defensed, and a tackle for loss. He is still an extremely effective football player who could be a key veteran leader in the locker room, who has tons of postseason experience.

Rowe also started the Steelers playoff game against the Buffalo Bills, in the game he recorded eight total tackles and a pass break up. Rowe will be entering his tenth season in the NFL in 2024, and he should come with a relatively cheap price tag. He will certainly be more expensive than the practice squad contract the Steelers were playing him in 2023, but if he played like he did in 2023 it’s hard to imagine that he wouldn’t outplay the value of his deal.

The reason Rowe wound up getting put in a position where he had to make meaningful starts for Pittsburgh was because the Steelers safety room was depleted. Damontae Kazee got suspended for the remainder of the regular season because of a hit he delivered on Michael Pittman Jr. against the Indianapolis Colts. Minkah Fitzpatrick had a lot of trouble with injuries in 2023 which made it hard for him to stay on the field, and the Steelers lost Keanu Neal for the season after he suffered a rib injury in Week 10 against the Green Bay Packers.

Steelers’ Best Option At Safety Might Be Eric Rowe

The Steelers have their top three safeties on the depth chart already figured out. The starting duo will likely be Fitzpatrick and Elliot, with Kazee behind both of them. Rounding out the team’s top four safeties with Rowe would be a great decision, mainly due to his price, experience, and versatility.

Throughout Rowe’s career he has played over 1,100 snaps at slot corner, which is arguably the Steelers biggest need on defense. The front office will likely address the position during the 2024 NFL Draft, but it could be valuable to have an experienced veteran on the roster who knows how to play the position. Additionally, if the Steelers find themselves having health issues at safety for the second season in a row, or if Kazee decides to take a guy’s head off again, Rowe is a player the coaching staff can be confident in replacing any player on the field.

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