Last season the biggest concern about the Pittsburgh Steelers offense, amongst many others, was the offensive line. In the 2022 offseason the Steelers have tried to address those concerns by signing free agents James Daniels and Mason Cole, as well as re-signing Chuks Okorafor.
But have they done enough?
Personally, I am extremely impressed with James Daniels. The way he played in Chicago was very impressive, his blocking both in pass protection and the run game showed up well. He also speaks like a Steeler and a leader, his comments on Steelers.com are worth reading and listening to. Daniels talked about wanting to gain respect and lead. He certainly could be the Steelers starting right guard for the forseaable future.
In addition, Mason Cole looks to be a rock solid center who will help address the problems the Steelers had with their center play last year. Cole impressively had 0 penalties and only allowed 2 sacks. The interior offensive line looks solid with the position battle between Kevin Dotson and Kendrick Green bound to push up the standard and level of play at left guard.
However, the tackle position is still a major concern. Currently on the roster the Steelers have Dan Moore, Chuks Okorafor, Joe Haeg, Chaz Green, Jordan Tucker and Jake Dixon. Not exactly a list of names to inspire confidence. Last season Moore allowed 7.5 sacks, Chuks 2 sacks, Haeg 3 sacks, but all these figures come with a health warning given Ben Roethlisberger’s quick release of 2.2 seconds, had he held he ball for the NFL average of 2.72 seconds then those numbers could lhave been higher.
Dan Moore, was not expected to play last season, but the injuries to Zach Banner forced the Steelers into playing Moore probably earlier than they wanted to. Chuks was solid, if not spectacular, but at times really lacked the aggression needed to be a top level lineman. Chuks returns this season on a big prove it deal and Moore goes into his sophomore season needing to continue the improvement he showed throughout the 2021 season. However, the tackle position is one I feel the Steelers need to address.
The Steelers still have $15.1 million dollars (at time of writing) in cap space. Now given the fact the Steelers like to keep $4-5 million for emergencies, this would leave around $11.1 million before contract restructures and anymore new deals in space. Given that space, I’d like to see them go out and get some veteran leadership at the tackle position, either from the free agent market or by making a trade.
Erik Fisher, although 31, is someone who could be a good acquisition for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fisher is a former first round pick who has played 132 NFL games, starting 128 of those. He has experience with both the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts. Fisher would bring veteran leadership and experience to a very young offensive line and offense. Or the Steelers could look at those who wlll be hittng free agency next season the likes of DJ Humphries (Arizona), George Fant (Jets), Matt Pryor (Colts), Rob Havenstein (Rams) for example. These are players who could maybe add something and be picked up for a reasonably low trade value and maybe a player.
Going into the 2022 season in order to give the new QB1, Mitch Trubisky, Madon Rudolph or Kenny Pickett, and Najee Harris the best opportunity to succeed I can’t help but feel the offensive line is a position the Steelers could do with adding too.
I am still exceptionally optimistic about the 2022 season and this new offense; however, this final move would ensure the Steelers offense is successful this coming season.