The Steelers continued their free agency moves when they re-signed defensive tackle Tyson Alualu to a two-year contract.
Alualu, possibly one of the most underrated players on the defense, played in 15 games in 2020, starting 10, and missed one game with a knee injury. He finished the season with 38 tackles, two sacks, five pass defenses and a forced fumble.
"He's in the middle of the defense between two good football players (Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt)," said defensive coordinator Keith Butler during the season. "We go to our base defense, and our base defense is really a 34 defense. We run that quite a bit. In order to move the ball in a 34 defense, you have to create holes in the middle of the defense. Tyson doesn't let you do that. He does a great job of staying in his gap and making sure nobody gets to his gap. If they do, he's going to let you know. If they don't, he's going to try to get to the ball, and he's done a good job of that.
"He's got a lot of talent, got a lot of ability. He's big. He's strong. He does a good job for us. He's smart. He does well with his teammates. He fulfills that part of our defense that we need very, very much when we run the type of defense that we run."
Alualu, a former No. 1 pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars who joined the Steelers in 2017 as an unrestricted free agent, took over Javon Hargrave's nose tackle spot this year after he left via free agency. He had one of his best games of the 2020 season when he had five tackles, a sack for a loss of 10 yards, two quarterback hurries and a pass defense in the Steelers win over the Denver Broncos in Week 2. He also had five tackles Week 15 against Cincinnati, and four tackles and a sack and forced fumble Week 14 vs. Buffalo. It was Alualu's sack of Josh Allen against the Bills that helped the Steelers set an NFL record with a streak of 70 games with at least one sack, breaking the record set by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 69 straight games with at least one sack (1999-2003).
Since joining the Steelers, Alualu has played in 62 games, starting 22, and has recorded 140 tackles, 15 quarterback hits, 15 tackles for a loss, eight pass defenses, seven sacks and two forced fumbles.
He has started 109 of the 172 career games he has played in, has 397 tackles, 66 quarterback hits, 45 tackles for a loss, 24.5 sacks 14 pass defenses, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Take a look at photographs of Steelers DE Tyson Alualu from the 2020 season