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Steelers bring in a former Pro Bowl guard for a visit

The Steelers wasted no time following minicamp to kick the tires on players still available in free agency.

New England Patriots v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Even though the Steelers offseason activities concluded on Thursday after the final day of mandatory minicamp, it does not mean the team would stop looking to improve the roster for 2021. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Steelers visited with former Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles ChargersPro Bowl guard Trai Turner on Friday.

Turner spent his first six seasons in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers after being drafted in the third round of the 2014 NFL draft. While in Carolina, Turner made the Pro Bowl five straight seasons from 2015 through 2019 while playing right guard. With two years remaining on his contract going into last season, Turner was traded from the Panthers to the Chargers in March of 2020 for Russell Okung.

Needless to say, Turner’s year in Los Angeles with the Chargers was not what either side expected. Only playing in nine games due to injury, Turner was ranked as the 79th out of 80 guards according to Pro Football Focus with an overall score of 34.8. Turner’s pass blocking score was 51.3 while his run blocking was scored at 29.8 which was by far the worst in the NFL of any guard regardless of the number of snaps played.

After such an abysmal year, the Chargers released Turner just before the start of the 2021 league year in order to save $11.5 million in cap space as he carried no dead money for Los Angeles.

Although it’s not surprising to see the Steelers look to bolster their offensive line, the fact they are choosing to do so at guard is very intriguing. Believed to be the strength of the Steelers offensive line which is currently in transition, the Steelers did notably miss David DeCastro from minicamp this week as noted by ESPN’s Brooke Pryor.

Simply because a player comes in for a visit does not mean it is the right fit for either them or the Pittsburgh Steelers. While I do not believe the Steelers would be interested in coming anywhere close to the $45 million over four years Turner received with his last extension, if he is merely just trying to stick around in the NFL on a reduced salary, and can return closer to form that he saw in Carolina, adding a player like Turner isn’t going to hurt the offensive line.

With the Steelers visiting with other players in recent weeks, such as Malik Hooker, it is apparent they will continue to look to shape their 2021 roster between now and the start of the season. Whether or not any of these visits turn into contracts remains to be seen, but it’s something to keep an eye on during the next several weeks leading up to training camp.

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