Disclaimer: The author realizes that the 2021 Steelers are probably going to be burning in Salary Cap Hell and can’t pony up much money for free agents. However, you never know what they have planned and it’s the author’s responsibility to highlight the free agent options.
The Steelers have many an issue on the offensive line, especially at offensive tackle and center. The center position is definitely one that requires being addressed now with Maurkice Pouncey retiring on Friday morning. His decision to hang it up means that his successor is very likely to be sought after in the draft. However, if the Steelers aren’t too sure about J.C. Hassenhauer as his replacement, they could look at some valuable bargains in free agency. Should they find salary cap room to add, here is the list of available free agents should a Steel City Money Miracle occur.
ONCE AGAIN. THE AUTHOR REALIZES THAT THE STEELERS DO NOT HAVE THE FUNDS FOR MANY OF THESE PLAYERS. HOWEVER, THIS IS THE LIST OF WHO IS AVAILABLE TO THE ENTIRE LEAGUE AND THE STEELERS. YOU CAN CRITICIZE THE IDIOT AUTHOR ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER OR BLEACHER REPORT COMMENTS SECTION FOR WASTING YOUR TIME AND NOT KNOWING ANYTHING AT ALL, AGAIN AND AGAIN. HOWEVER, THESE WILL CONTINUE TO APPEAR.
Here is the list of free agents at the position should the Steelers or the competition be shopping. One more time, the author is aware that Steelers have little room under the cap. But if you read the entire article, you’ll be able to amaze your friends, family, coworkers and people in line at the bank, supermarket or strip club buffet with your vast knowledge of NFL Free Agents.
Most Notable Free Agent Centers
Corey Linsley - Green Bay Packers
Age 29, 6’3”/301 lbs.
Stats: Games Played - 13, Offensive Snaps Played - 734, Sacks Allowed - 1, Penalties - 0
No. 1 PFF Position Ranking
Overall Grade: 89.9 (Elite), Pass Blocking 82.8 (High Quality), Run Blocking 87.8 (Elite)
Linsley is on the top of his game and has been one of the most dependable players at the center position for years. However, Linsley may have saved his best for 2020, allowing only 4 pressures. Elite as a run blocker and a high quality pass protector, Linsley is projected by PFF to command $11 million per year on a three-year deal. That’s a bargain for such a crucial position, despite nearing the age of 30.
David Andrews - New England Patriots
Age 28, 6’3”/300 lbs.
Stats: Games Played - 12, Offensive Snaps Played - 724, Sacks Allowed - 2, Penalties - 1
No. 14 PFF Position Ranking
Overall Grade: 67.7 (Above Average), Pass Blocking 56.4 (Average), Run Blocking 69.9 (Above Average)
Hurt all of 2019, Andrews returned in 2020. However, the veteran center still lost four games to injury. A top blocker (both run and pass) throughout his career, Andrews took a small step back in 2020. GMs need to ask themselves if the Patriots center-man will be able to stay healthy. If Andrews can, he’s a top-tier player at his position and can be a bargain at a projected $6 million per year.
Austin Reiter - Kansas City Chiefs
Age 29, 6’3”/300 lbs.
Stats: Games - 15, Offensive Snaps Played - 867, Sacks Allowed - 0, Penalties - 0
No. 12 PFF Position Ranking
Overall Grade: 70.9 (Above Average), Pass Blocking 78.3 (High Quality), Run Blocking, 63.6 (Average)
Reiter is a reliable center and has been crucial to a team that was crowned AFC champions the past two seasons. The USF alum is a better pass blocker than he is in the run game, but he’s not a liability there either. Patrick Mahomes never pronounced his center’s surname properly (it’s just like “writer”), but no matter what you call him... he could be an extreme value at a PFF-projected $4.75 million per year.
Ethan Pocic - Seattle Seahawks
Age 25, 6’6”/320 lbs.
Stats: Games - 14, Offensive Snaps Played - 932, Sacks Allowed - 2, Penalties - 1
No. 26 PFF Position Ranking
Overall Grade: 62.4 (Average), Pass Blocking 60.5 (Average), Run Blocking 61.9 (Average)
Ethan Pocic is young, has great size and has improved every season as the center for the Seahawks. Although he only grades out as merely average by PFF across the board, Pocic could be worth a flyer on a contract for a cash-strapped team.
Ted Karras - Miami Dolphins
Age 28, 6’4”/305 lbs.
Stats: Games - 16, Offensive Snaps Played - 1068, Sacks Allowed - 2, Penalties - 3
No. 17 PFF Position Ranking
Overall Grade: 65.3 (Above Average), Pass Blocking 67.8 (Above Average), Run Blocking 62.3 (Average)
Ted Karras, with the NFL in his family tree, was very valuable for the Patriots and Dolphins the past couple years in the middle of the offensive line. A good pass protector and solid hole-opener for running backs, Karras is a versatile lineman that teams could appreciate.
Most Notable Steelers Free Agent Centers
Age 25 6’2”/295 lbs.
Stats: Games - 15, Offensive Snaps Played - 303, Sacks Allowed - 0, Penalties - 5
PFF Position Ranking - Not Ranked
Overall Grade: 57.7 (Average), Pass Blocking 68.0 (Above Average), Run Blocking 52.6 (Below Average)
Hassenauer was called into service quite a bit down the stretch for the Steelers and the results were mixed. J.C. is an exclusive-rights free agent that will most likely stay in the Steel City as a depth player that gained valuable playing time in 2020.
Other Notable Free Agent Offensive Centers
Alex Mack - Atlanta Falcons
Matt Skura - Baltimore Ravens
Daniel Kilgore - Kansas City Chiefs
Austin Blythe -Los Angeles Rams
Hroniss Grasu - San Francisco 49ers
Ben Garland - San Francisco 49ers
Tony Bergstrom - San Francisco 49ers
James Ferentz - New England Patriots
Joey Hunt - Indianapolis Patriots
Marcus Martin - New England Patriots
A.Q. Shipley - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tyler Shatley - Jacksonville Jaguars
Mike Pouncey - Los Angeles Chargers
Brett Jones - Minnesota Vikings
Tyler Lawson - Carolina Panthers
Cameron Tom - New Orleans Saints