PITTSBURGH – After initially agreeing to terms with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency, defensive tackle Tyson Alualu will re-sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers, a source confirmed to ESPN on Saturday.
A week and a half ago, Alualu, 33, agreed to a two-year, $ 6 million deal with the Jaguars, the organization that selected him in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft. However, Alualu changed his mind. during a delay on his trip to Jacksonville to sign the contract, a source confirmed to ESPN. Alualu had tested positive for COVID-19, setting it aside for 10 days, and changed his mind about leaving Pittsburgh, according to a league source.
Alualu was convinced to stay in Pittsburgh by his teammate Cam Heyward and other members of the defensive line, who told him how much they wanted him to stay, a source told ESPN. The Steelers didn’t have to re-draft Alualu to convince the nose tackle to stay. Instead, he accepted the team’s original offer, which was slightly less than what Jacksonville offered, a source told ESPN.
Alualu has been with the Steelers since 2017, when he signed a two-year, $ 6 million deal in free agency.
Alualu was a mainstay in the Steelers’ running defense last season, taking on the job of starting nose tackle. He appeared in 15 games, playing 44% of defensive plays. He had 38 tackles, including four for a loss, and two sacks last season.
Without Alualu, the Steelers lacked a consistent veteran presence at the position, and he shores up a large hole left in his short game. The Steelers have yet to replace four defensive starters: linebacker Bud Dupree, inside linebacker Vince Williams, defensive back Mike Hilton and cornerback Steve Nelson.
Terms of Alualu’s deal were not disclosed, but the Steelers recently made moves to free up some cap space, including the release of starting cornerback Steven Nelson, who generated $ 8.25 million in cap space.
NFL Network was the first to report Alualu’s decision.