Editor’s note: From now until the first practice of training camp at Saint Vincent College, the Trib will be running through the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 90-man roster, assessing each player’s outlook for the 2022 season. The breakdown will go through the roster in mostly-alphabetical order, two per day, between June 11 and July 25. Contract data courtesy spotrac.com.
P CAMERON NIZIALEK
Experience: Punted in four games for the Atlanta Falcons last season, his only NFL regular-season action since going undrafted in 2018
Contract status: $825,000 cap hit in 2022, after which scheduled to be an exclusive rights free agent
2022 outlook: The The Steelers seem committed to Pressley Harvin III, the punter they invested a draft pick in last year. Even after an inconsistent rookie season in which his overall numbers lagged, coaches saw enough in Harvin’s leg strength, holding abilities and demeanor that they still view him as their punter over the longterm. Coach Mike Tomlin even went back to Harvin for the regular-season finale and playoff game despite Corliss Waitman out-performing him during Waitman’s two-game audition while Harvin grieved the loss of his father.
Nizialek is probably more than just a mere proverbial “camp leg” – but (barring something unforeseen) he probably doesn’t have too much of a chance to make the team, either.
Not getting away from @Mr_Ogunjobi this time. ????
Watch on CBS pic.twitter.com/VAqvZYXRtM
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 24, 2021
DL LARRY OGUNJOBI
Experience: 6th season
Contract status: Signed a one-year, free-agent contract worth $8 million last month
2022 outlook: Assuming there are no health issues, the Steelers could have gotten a bargain in Ogunjobi at the price they paid – consider that three months prior, another team deemed the veteran to be worth $40.5 million (with $26.5 million guaranteed) over three years until they voided the deal because of a failed physical. Even if the Steelers get a player commensurate with a salary somewhere in between those numbers, they can feel satisfied they found a viable replacement for the retired Stephon Tuitt.
Ogunjobi had seven sacks last season for the Cincinnati Bengals, the second stop on his tour of the AFC North following his first four NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Though he is perhaps best known in Pittsburgh for shoving Mason Rudolph to the ground during the famous helmet-swing incident of 2019, Ogunjobi is a respected veteran interior defender on the line who should be able to play any position in the Steelers’ 3-4 scheme.
The caveat to it all, though, comes in that Ogunjobi had foot surgery after suffering a season-ending injury during the Bengals’ wild-card playoff win. In March, apparently, Bears physicians did not deem Ogunjobi to be in perfect health. Did that change by June? Is there a difference of opinion? Is the standard of “health” lower for a financial commitment that is significantly less? Probably a combination of all three. If Ogunjobi in 2022 is the player he was last season for Cincinnati, the Steelers will be pleased.