The Pittsburgh Steelers have been quite thrifty at the offensive tackle position, finding quality depth in the mid to late portions of the draft while purchasing formidable patchwork in free agency. However, at a position as important as left tackle, finding the best possible option is paramount.
In a league that continues to become more pass-happy, the value of an elite left tackle has gone through the roof. At this stage of free agency, there are not going to be any elite players available for the taking, but it does not take away from the fact that there are several starting-caliber players available.
One of those players is Eric Fisher. Fisher never lived up to the billing of his draft status, but he developed into a rock-solid left tackle, protecting the blindside of Kansas City Chiefs quarterbacks Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes for eight seasons. After suffering a torn ACL in January of 2021, the Chiefs released Fisher, although the primary reason was because of salary cap issues.
Fisher then signed a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts, hoping to regain his footage and perception around the league following the injury. Unfortunately for Fisher, he was not his normal self and was noticeably hampered for the majority of the season. On the bright side, he began to display improved mobility as the season progressed, indicating that his health is trending in the right direction. He is still a free agent, but when considering the league-wide demand for quality tackles, one cannot expect that to be the case for much longer.
Dallas Robinson of Pro Football Network recently named the biggest need for each AFC team, and he pegged offensive tackle the biggest area of need for the Steelers. Here is what he had to say about the matter.
You don’t often see a fourth-round pick come in and start at left tackle for the entirety of his rookie season, but that’s exactly what Dan Moore Jr. did in 2021. The Texas A&M product improved as the year progressed, but his results were uneven overall.
In the same article, Robinson outlined the solution for each team’s problem, and for the Steelers, the solution was Eric Fisher. Robinson explains.
Fisher could take over as Pittsburgh’s starting LT if the team decides they want more experience on the blindside. Yet, he could be an option for the Steelers even if they decide to roll with Moore again. Right tackle Chuks Okorafor is below replacement level, so it wouldn’t hurt Pittsburgh to roster a veteran who could take over at either tackle spot if needed.
Dan Moore, Jr. displayed tremendous growth in the later stages of 2021, but outside of the Week 17 matchup against Myles Garrett and the Browns, the overall body of work was less than stellar. On the other side of the line, Chukwuma Okorafor was his normal self, displaying relative consistency in pass protection while struggling mightily as a run blocker. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Steelers’ offseason was when they decided to give him a three-year contract worth nearly $30 million.
Things do not get much better behind the starters either, as Joe Haeg and Chaz Green are the only noteworthy depth pieces currently rostered. No matter which part of the depth chart you choose to look at, it is clear the Steelers need to upgrade this position. Will they pull the trigger on a free agent tackle such as Fisher? We will have to wait and see.
What would you think of a potential Eric Fisher signing? Do you think he would solidify the Steelers’ corps of offensive tackles? Be sure to share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below, and stay tuned to BTSC as we get you ready for the 2022 NFL season!