With the 2022 NFL draft complete some of the attention around prospects will shift back to veterans for NFL teams. Most of the well-known NFL veterans that do not sign early into free agency like to wait until after the draft to assess the landscape. They can find where they are needed most and do not have to worry about a draft pick coming in and surprising them later. One team to watch in this late free agency period is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tyrann Mathieu signed recently, and another name that is similar in value is Akiem Hicks. Hicks is getting older, like the Honey Badger, but when he is on top of his game, he is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL.
One team that has been linked to Hicks has been the Pittsburgh Steelers. This makes sense in one regard because they do not know if Stephon Tuitt will play this year. However, it does not in a few others.
The Steelers never sign free agents over the age of 30, and Akiem Hicks is 32. The Steelers are consistently a good team because they stick to rules like avoiding big names with a big age attached to them. Hicks missed seven games last season and missed 11 in 2019.
The Steelers would only be interested in him because Stephon Tuitt is not healthy enough to get on the field. Tuitt missed all of 2021 and 10 games in 2019. Still, Tuitt is 28 years old, which is four years younger than Hicks.
Tuitt and Hicks are similar, and if Hicks replaced Tuitt, it would make sense. Still, the Steelers want to get younger and healthier, which is why they would move on from Tuitt. Hicks accomplishes none of that, and it would be surprising if the two wound up together as a final destination.
While they are not big names, the Steelers did draft DeMarvin Leal and have Chris Wormley signed. These are the young up-and-coming names that Pittsburgh trusts more than the older players.