The Pittsburgh Steelers have a long and rich history at the center position. From Mike Webster, to Dermontti Dawson, and, most recently, Maurkice Pouncey. Three players that combined for over 40 seasons in the NFL and were all considered the best player at their position at some point in their respected careers.
For the first time in a very long time the Steelers find themselves with a glaring hole at the center position. With Ben Roethlisberger entering the final year(s) of his NFL career I don't imagine he would want to spend them breaking in a rookie. For those of you that have never played the position at a high level, I cannot stress enough how important having an experienced Center on your roster is for an offense. They have to know the playbook just as well as a quarterback, set up the assignment for every other member of the offensive line, and, depending on the play, also the tight ends and running backs.
Long story short, you need a smart, physical, hardworking player to lead your offensive line. A rookie in this spot would be far too worried about getting the assignments called correctly that they may not be able to play as physically as someone with experience could. For a young team on the rise, that isn't a problem. But for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are in a compete window as long as Roethlisberger is on the team, they need someone ready to go now.
Quite frankly, the perfect man for the job is Corey Linsley of the Green Bay Packers. The eastern Ohio native grew up just an hour car ride away from Heinz Field, and could look to make the jump back to the area. Adding Linsley would continue the Steelers’ tradition of having elite center play, because he was the best center in football last season being named first team All-Pro as the man snapping the ball to Aaron Rodgers. In doing so, Linsley took his place in the upper echelon of offensive lineman.
Corey Linsley expects to be snapping somewhere else next season https://t.co/RlXEDqYuHO— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) February 25, 2021
But having such talent comes with a high cost. According to Spotrac, Linsley has a market value of $9.7 million annually and could be had on a three year deal worth roughly $29.1 Million total. Even for a cap strapped team like the Steelers, this number is not unreasonable. A General Manager like Kevin Colbert would back load the deal anyway to make it fit even easier within the Steelers’ cap. At 29 years old the Steelers could even offer more than just three years. It is not unprecedented for the top centers in the league to play deep into their 30’s and for a third contract player like Linsely, he could be looking for a deal that carries him into retirement.
Bringing in a player like Linsely also means the Steelers wouldn't have to worry about drafting another player at the position. For a team with a number of holes, they can easily fill those with one of their biggest needs out of the way. Suddenly, the Steelers no longer have pressure to find the interior offensive linemen, and can more freely pick the best players available and not force fit positional need ahead of talent.
For a team that appears to be reloading for another Super Bowl run, this would be a move to cement them as contenders. We know the Steelers aren't the team to make splashy additions in free agency, but this move makes too much sense for all parties involved. Bottom line is the Steelers have to make a move on one of the league’s best lineman.
But what do you think? If the Steelers could only bring in one big ticket free agent who do you want it to be? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.