An annual tradition here at Steel City Underground is to analyze the Steelers current roster and come up with some of the best bets, as well as some of the riskier investments, in updating the black and gold portion of your closet.
Which Steelers jerseys, that is, players, are worth purchasing ahead of the 2022 season?
Let’s have a look at those uniforms you could safely wear for seasons to come, and those you might want to avoid buying until further notice.
Best Bet: T.J. Watt
After signing a lucrative contract extension last offseason, and following it up by winning the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award, Watt is probably the most recognized face on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster.
He’s locked up through the 2025 season so there’s no reason to hesitate this jersey purchase.
Buy: Minkah Fitzpatrick
Like Watt above, Fitzpatrick just signed a huge deal which (at the time) made him the highest-paid safety in the NFL.
As a perennial Pro Bowl and All-Pro player, he’s the next one in line if your closet is already full of home, away, and color rush Watt uniform varieties!
Avoid: Mitchell Trubisky
I know I catch a lot of flack for my downplaying of the Steelers Week 1 starting quarterback, but this isn’t hating on the guy in the very least.
The reality is, none of us can predict how long Trubisky will hold the title of “QB1”, especially with the team having invested a first round pick in Kenny Pickett to be the future at the position.
Trubisky also signed a two-year contract this offseason, which has a big out next year: the Steelers can save $8 million on their cap if he’s released.
All signs point to buyer beware.
Coin Flip: Kenny Pickett
As mentioned above, Trubisky could be keeping the seat warm for Pickett to eventually takeover as the Steelers starting quarterback.
When that happens is another question. The fact of the matter is that Pickett is a local favorite who will be under contract for the next four seasons, with a potential fifth year option as a first round draft pick.
Since he was a Pitt standout, you may lean into buying his shirt as a cool trend, just like James Conner several years ago. Just be aware that he may not see the field right away – or at all – this season.
However, the purchase could have longer term value: those of you still holding onto the Ben Roethlisberger jerseys purchased during his rookie season know what I mean!
Avoid: Myles Jack
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Steelers adding Jack to their roster as a priority offseason free agent.
However, the investment into a player who only signed a two-year deal has me raising a red flag. Let’s cool our heels and see if the Jack signing proves to be a longer-term engagement first before buying his jersey.
Buy: Cameron Heyward
It seems like skill position players on offense get all of the shelf space, but if you can find Heyward’s jersey out there, buy it.
Even if he leaves the league in the upcoming years, he’ll always be remembered as a Steelers great. He’s also a current beast of a player who doesn’t get enough media, or fan, attention.
You’ll standout in a crowd wearing 97.
Buy: Najee Harris
1000-yard rusher? Check. Team Captain? Check. First round pick with a fifth-year option? Check.
Harris is a safe play for all of the reasons listed above, and could be on the verge of a breakout season. You could do worse…
Avoid: Chase Claypool
Claypool jerseys will still be floating around as the Steelers top pick (without a first rounder that season).
However, he could be supplanted entering year three of four on his rookie deal, by another newcomer, George Pickens.
I would take a wait-and-see approach personally.
Avoid: Devin Bush
There are still lots of Bush jerseys on store shelves too, as the first round picks always get their name in print.
Bush has been somewhat of a letdown as a player as of late, and with the team opting out of his fifth-year option, he enters the final year on his contract with no indication he’ll return next year.
That would be an expensive purchase which may not age well!
Avoid: Block Numbers
I have no idea how often the Steelers will continue to wear this style of jersey. They’re reportedly wearing them for the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception game against the Raiders, after not wearing them at all last season.
They still look cool, but that look would be best used on a legendary Steelers player, not a current one.
I’d love to write about every Steelers player on the roster, but it’s not entirely necessary. I’m not sure anyone if flocking to get a custom Chris Boswell jersey, but I will leave some opinions below on some players not already noted:
Pat Freiermuth: Buy
- He has a chance to be the greatest Steelers tight end since Heath Miller. That’s worth an investment.
- Offensive Line: Avoid
- Sorry, but there’s no Maurkice Pouncey level of talent here to feel confident enough in wearing.
- Rest of the Secondary: Avoid
Diontae Johnson: Coin Flip
- He signed a contract extension following a Pro Bowl nod, but will he be overshadowed by the rest of the wide receiver room? I believe there are better purchases that could be made.
- George Pickens: Wait
- Let’s wait and see if Pickens lives up to his preseason hype into the regular season first before opening your wallet.