The headline of the weekend is who the Steelers lost - center Fernando Velasco due to an Achilles injury - not who they picked up - C Eric Olsen and OT Rashad Butler.
Both moves appear to be more or less early Futures signings than anything else.
Butler does have pro experience, though, and his signing could indicate a healthy prognosis for left tackle Kelvin Beachum, who, like Velasco, was hurt against the Ravens. But having another tackle could be in case of an emergency situation in which Beachum would have to shift inside.
It also could be a back-up or replacement for Mike Adams in the team's third tackle/tight end role. Adams was also injured against the Ravens, and Butler has some experience in that capacity.
The most notable part of Butler's signing, sad as this is, he becomes the second consecutive Steelers offensive linemen to sign with the team after missing the 2012 season with a triceps injury. Levi Brown was acquired, and re-injured his triceps during warm-ups in the Steelers' Week 6 game against the Jets. Brown didn't play one down for the team.
Butler played eight snaps for Cleveland in 2013, missed all of 2012, and played one snap for Houston in 2011. The Texans tried him at left tackle for a portion of the 2010 season, but after allowing 14 hurries in five games, he was relegated to the extra tight end role for the remainder of the season.
A bit undersized (somewhat due to ulcerative colitis, a condition with which he was diagnosed in 2007 after having been released by the Carolina Panthers, the team that drafted him in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft), Butler has experience but has never locked a position down in the league.
The outside protection of the Steelers' offensive line is one issue, but the interior is something else. Velasco was the third center to snap a ball for the Steelers this season, and it appears, for now, Cody Wallace will become the fourth. He's the likely candidate to replace Velasco, who replaced Beachum after he filled in for the remainder of the Steelers' Week 1 loss to Tennessee when Pouncey was injured. If Olsen sees the field, then a bad situation got a lot worse.
Interestingly, though, Olsen, a Staten Island native, is the son of a New York firefighter who saw an entire unit of his firehouse (Ladder 80) killed when the World Trade Center collapsed in the attacks of 9/11. His father had been promoted to Lieutenant and was in officer training school that day.
Olsen was drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He spent a season with the Redskins before ending up in New Orleans for three years. He saw spot duty at both guard positions and right tackle while playing 178 snaps for the Saints last season.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Weekend Checkdown: the top stories of the week
- Steelers place Fernando Velasco on injured reserve, release DeMarcus Van Dyke
- Poor first half of season too much to overcome for Steelers team that's played much better in second half
- Chasing Franchise Immortality: Steelers Antonio Brown is within striking range of Steelers' receiving records
- Ravens coach John Harbaugh cracks a joke about Mike Tomlin's special teams prowess
- Hit on Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell broke part of his helmet