The Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 NFL season is over. Because the Steelers are one of 31 teams that haven’t finished reaching their ultimate goal, they’re wrapping up their season and moving forward into 2022.
Since the Steelers conduct exit interviews with all of their players, we here at BTSC thought we would do the same. By describing two players each day, we will be able to look back on their season as well as look forward. Since Coach Tomlin said he’s starting his interviews with rookies, first-year players and those heading into free agency, we’ll do the same. To begin, we will pair a potential free agent with a freshman player as we work through this process to eventually cover the entire Steelers roster.
Next, tight ends Eric Ebron and Pat Freiermuth.
Position: Tight end
Years with the Steelers: 2
Years in the NFL: 8
Contract status: Free agent
Contract details: Contract expiring with empty years remaining. $3.904 million must be factored into the 2022 salary cap.
Matches played in 2021: 8 regular season
Games started in 2021: 3 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 246 (attack), 1 (special teams)
PFF rating:48.4 (DNQ for classification)
Notable stats (regular season): Ebron had 12 receptions on 18 targets for 84 yards and a receiving touchdown; a rush for 1 yard and a touchdown on the ground.
Remarks: As the 2021 season progressed, it became more apparent that Pratt Freiermuth was the first tight end option against Eric Ebron before he was lost for the season due to a knee injury. Ebron grabbed a touchdown on his last reception of the year and was injured on the play. As a future free agent, the Steelers are unlikely to keep Ebron for anything other than the veteran minimum, and even in this case, it would be doubtful that they would bring him back.
Position: Tight end
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 1
Contract status: Signed until 2024
Contract details: Salary cap of $1,370,041 reached for 2022. That would cost the Steelers $2,242,107 in dead money if released.
Matches played in 2021: 16 regular season, 1 post-season
Games started in 2021: 9 regular season, 1 playoffs
Snaps (regular season): 683 (attack), 41 (special units)
PFF Rating:72.9 (11th out of 74)
Notable stats (regular season): Freiermuth made 60 receptions on 79 targets for 487 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Remarks: Coming short of tying Heath Miller for the Steelers record in receiving touchdowns in a season for a tight end, Freiermuth didn’t find the end zone in the final four weeks of the Steelers season. Granted, he missed the Steelers’ first game with the Chiefs due to a concussion. Although he was used throughout the season, it was more evident in the latter part that Freiermuth has become one of the Steelers’ top offensive options. With such a young and reliable safety net in this position, Freiermuth will be a good weapon for the Steelers’ next quarterback in 2022.
So what do you think? How would you conduct the exit interview of Ebron and Freiermuth? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Be sure to check back each day for another set of exit interviews. If you missed any of the previous articles, they are listed here:
Ben Roethlisberger and Najee Harris