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Steelers 2021 Free Agent Market Watch: The Offensive Tackles the Steelers Can’t Afford

BTSC takes a look at the top free agents at each position, whether or not they are in the Steelers price range. Here are the Offensive Tackles.

Buffalo Bills v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

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 offensive tackle with expiring deals in 2021 on a line that many feel has regressed recently. With Alejandro Villanueva, Matt Feiler (both OT and OG) and Zach Banner all free agents, the Steelers need to possibly retain at least one and definitely address the position in the draft? If they do 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 Offensive Tackle

Taylor Moton - Carolina Panthers

Age 26, 6’5”/325 lbs.

Stats: Games Played - 16, Offensive Snaps Played - 1032, Sacks Allowed - 3, Penalties - 2

No. 13 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 81.2 (High Quality), Pass Blocking 77.3 (High Quality), Run Blocking 76.3 (High Quality)

The Western Michigan Bronco has been a consistent starter, a perfect 48 for 48, the last three years. Moton is known for being a high-level pass blocker and very solid in opening holes in the run game. Playing at right tackle, Moton keeps on coming into his own and gets better each year. A big contract could be on the horizon for Taylor Moton. PFF is projecting a five-year deal worth around $16.5 per for one of the best o-line free agents out there.


Trent Williams - San Francisco 49ers

Age 32, 6’5”/320 lbs.

Stats: Games Played - 14, Offensive Snaps Played - 957, Sacks Allowed - 4, Penalties - 10

No. 1 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 91.9 (Elite), Pass Blocking 84.8 (High Quality), Run Blocking 91.8 (Elite)

Williams sat out all of 2019 and returned in 2020 after forcing a Draft Day trade from the Washington Football Team to the Niners. Once again, Williams is considered to be one of the finest offensive tackles in the NFL and is versatile enough to fit in any scheme. He looks to be fit enough to play deep into his late-30s. PFF projects that the 8X Pro Bowl selection could land a four-year deal worth $80 million. That’s not in the budget for a Steelers team trying to get younger on the offensive line.


Daryl Williams - Buffalo Bills

Age 28, 6’6”/330 lbs.

Stats: Games - 16, Offensive Snaps Played - 1237, Sacks Allowed - 3 , Penalties - 9

No. 21 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 79.2 (High Quality), Pass Blocking 80.1 (High Quality), Run Blocking, 74.6 (Above Average)

Williams went north, literally and figuratively, when he signed a “prove-it” deal with the Buffalo Bills in the form of a one-year, $2.25 million pact after his career started going south with the Carolina Panthers the previous two seasons. Williams lost all of 2018 with a knee injury, perhaps explaining his decline. Buyers need to beware that 2020 could have been an aberration when they possibly gamble that Williams is the real deal. However, he got to the table based on both blocking for the pass and the run very well. Nonetheless, PFF expects that teams bet around $10.5 million per year on Williams. Don’t expect the Steelers to be sitting at the table here.


Russell Okung - Carolina Panthers

Age 33, 6’5”/310 lbs.

Stats: Games - 7, Offensive Snaps Played - 400, Sacks Allowed - 3, Penalties - 4

No. 33 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 73.0 (Above Average), Pass Blocking 80.0 (High Quality), Run Blocking 66.1 (Above Average)

Days ago, Russell Okung followed the Elon Musk plan and put the Bitcoin logo on his Twitter profile. Back in 2010, the Seattle Seahawks invested the 6th overall pick in Okung and he has definitely proved worthy of it. When healthy, the Oklahoma State alum has been a valuable protector for quarterbacks in the Emerald City, Denver, Los Angeles and Carolina. But after only playing in seven games in 2020, how much can teams expect out of a 33 year-old that PFF projects to command $50 million over three years? Even if he gets slightly less than that, don’t expect the Steelers to provide the Bitcoin to Okung’s account.


Kelvin Beachum - Arizona Cardinals

Age 31, 6’3”/308lbs.

Stats: Games - 16, Offensive Snaps Played - 1126, Sacks Allowed - 3, Penalties - 5

No. 46 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 69.0 (Above Average), Pass Blocking 76.8 (High Quality), Run Blocking 59.0 (Average)

Beachum has been really consistent as a pro since the Steelers landed him with their final of four seventh-round picks back in 2012. Beach played very well in 2020 having to step in for another former Steeler, Marcus Gilbert, in Arizona. Beachum has had injury issues over the years and is a much better pas blocker than he is with the run, but he could be a value pickup as a depth piece in Pittsburgh for around a PFF-projected $4.5 million per year.


Most Notable Steelers Offensive Tackle Free Agents

Zach Banner

Age 27, 6’8”/360 lbs.

2019 Stats: Games - 14, Offensive Snaps Played - 206, Sacks Allowed - 1, Penalties - 2

2020 Stats: Games - 1, Offensive Snaps Played - 59, Sacks Allowed - 0, Penalties - 0

PFF Position Ranking - not ranked

2019 Overall Grade: 78.3 (High Quality), Pass Blocking 54.4 (Below Average), Run Blocking 74.0 (Above Average)

2020 Overall Grade: 63.7 (Average), Pass Blocking 52.1 (Below Average), Run Blocking 64.9 (Average)

Zach Banner gambled on himself by signing only a one-year deal with the Steelers in 2020, but he had to leave the table when he tore his ACL in Week 1. He may have to go the same route this season and all signs point to his being back in black-and-gold in 2021. His run blocking numbers are solid, while his passing numbers aren’t. But most of Banner’s playing time was as a tackle eligible on running situations. At USC, Banner only surrendered four sacks of Sam Darnold his entire time there. So take those numbers lightly. It would be favorable for both parties to give it another trial year at $1.75 million.


Alejandro Villanueva

Age 32, 6’9”/320 lbs.

Stats: Games - 16, Offensive Snaps Played - 1187, Sacks Allowed - 3, Penalties - 4

No. 28 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 74.9 (Above Average), Pass Blocking 77.8 (High Quality), Run Blocking 61.0 (Average)

There’s immense speculation that Big Al could retire before 2021 and there’s the perception in parts of Pittsburgh that Villanueva has declined. There’s others that feel that No. 78 is still a very solid part of the line that played every snap last season. With his contract expired, I don’t expect Alejandro to return to Pittsburgh, especially at the price tag of $15 million per year (up from the $6 million that he earned last year) that PFF projects for the veteran.


Matt Feiler

Age 28, 6’6”/330 lbs.

Stats: Games - 13, Offensive Snaps Played - 848, Sacks Allowed - 2, Penalties - 2

No. 29 PFF Position Ranking (Guards)

Overall Grade: 65.0 (Average), Pass Blocking 69.6 (Above Average), Run Blocking 59.6 (Average)

Feiler had a very solid season starting at right tackle for the Steelers in 2019, but he was average at best as at left guard last season. He’s a free agent and PFF projects a new deal at about $6 million per year. a significant raise from the $3.259 million the Bloomsburg ptoduct earned in 2020. It will be interesting to see if other teams covet Feiler as a solid depth piece at the tackle position or if the Steelers value No. 71 enough to resign him. I picture “Anchor” dropping in another NFL city next season, but you never know.


Jerald Hawkins

Age 27, 6’6”/305 lbs.

Stats: Games - 13, Offensive Snaps Played - 74, Sacks Allowed - 0, Penalties - 0

PFF Position Ranking - not ranked

Overall Grade: 67.3 (Above Average), Pass Blocking 73.9 (Above Average), Run Blocking 62.9 (Average)

Hawkins is a restricted free agent that was signed to return to the Steelers when Zach Banner suffered a season-ending injury in Week One. Hawkins assumed the tackle eligible position, allowing Chuks Okorafor to move into Banner’s right tackle slot. As a depth piece with experience at $750,000, Hawkins could very likely return for another year.


Other Notable Free Agent Offensive Tackles

Mike Remmers - Kansas City Chiefs

Demar Dotson - Denver Broncos

Cam Robinson - Jacksonville Jaguars

Germain Ifedi - Chicago Bears

Jason Peters - Philadelphia Eagles

D.J. Fluker - Baltimore Ravens

Cam Fleming - New York Giants

Denzelle Good - Las Vegas Raiders

Ty Sambrailo - Tennessee Titans

Cedric Ogbuehi - Seattle Seahawks

Cam Erving - Dallas Cowboys