The Pittsburgh Steelers, and NFL for that matter, have officially hit the offseason. With a month before contracts officially expire, and the new league year begins, the Steelers will need to start game planning their future.
In this series we will look at every position group of the Pittsburgh Steelers and what the team will do with the players that were on the 2021 roster, and how they should rebuild the spots heading into the 2022 season!
Today we look at the Steelers offensive tackle position. A position which will look a little bit different next season, but how different remains to be seen. A number of moves are coming at this position, and whether or not the Steelers are looking for starters is the real question which remains.
The 2021 Roster
Chukwuma Okorafor (UFA)
Dan Moore Jr. (3-Years $999k)
Joe Haeg (1-Year $3.1 M)
Zach Banner (1-Year $6.62 M)
Rashaad Coward (1-Year $1 M)
Chaz Green (1-Year $895k)
Before the start of training camp many Steelers fans, and most likely the coaches alike, believed the duo of Chukwuma Okorafor and Zach Banner would be the starter at either side. However, Banner was unable to remain healthy and missed virtually the entire season with a setback of the knee injury he suffered in 2020. It is likely Banner will be cut over the coming weeks to free up more cap space, meaning both the expected starters at the start of 2021 will be without a contract from the team.
However, the Steelers did receive a pleasant surprise by way of 4th round pick Dan Moore Jr. By all accounts Moore struggled throughout rookie camp and training camp, but when injury resulted in him seeing starter reps, he started to improve. Moore consistently got better as the year went on, and early season struggles turned into late season competence. His improvement should result in him getting another opportunity to start a tackle again in 2022.
As for the rest of the depth chart, I still think the Steelers should try to improve their swing tackle this offseason. Joe Haeg was fine, but you would really want to have more depth at such an important position along the offensive front.
Should they look to add a player
With Moore on the left side, the Steelers need to address the right tackle position. Chukwuma Okorafor was an average, at best, right tackle, and in this league you really should never settle for average. There are a number of right tackles who would instantly improve this offensive line, and this should be an area of focus for the Steelers. Finding a player who can provide veteran leadership, the kind which this offense desperately lacks.
If healthy, I would turn my attention to Trent Brown of the New England Patriots. The massive tackle has shown dominance throughout his NFL career, when he is healthy. If the doctors sign off on a clean bill of health, Trent Brown might be the top tackle on my list. After Brown, I would look at former New York Jets right tackle Morgan Moses who has been a force in this league for a pretty long time now. I am not afraid of adding a player that is older, and may even be in their early 30s, to provide this team with a presence that the others can follow, much like what Andrew Whitworth provided for the Los Angeles Rams the last half decade.
How should the group look in 2022
Next season Steelers fans should expect giving Dan Moore another opportunity to start at left tackle and bringing in a veteran free agent to start on the right side. Like I mentioned above, a healthy Trent Brown would be the youngest, and possibly most dominant, free agent option to add on the right side. But, if they determine he cannot stay healthy, I would look to add Morgan Moses, or someone of his abilities. As for depth pieces, I would head into next season with Haeg still on roster, but I would pair him with another rookie option in the back end of the 2022 NFL Draft. Depth and talent is the name of the game here and the Steelers must improve both this offseason.
But what do you think? What should the Steelers Offensive Tackle position look like at the start of the 2022 season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Check out the other position previews below: