Though defense is the biggest area to address on the team, the main talk during free agency has been about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense.
The team has officially put in an offer to left tackle Russell Okung, according to a report by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Russell Okung has an offer on the table from Steelers. Team meeting with more OTs in next few days. Kelvin Beachum still unsigned.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 13, 2016
It is obviously uncertain the terms of the deal though the price is likely to be relatively substantial given that Okung would likely be the team’s starting left tackle if he signs. As Fowler points out, the team has also met with tackles Chris Hairston and Ryan Harris.
While Okung would be the assumed starter, Hairston and Harris would be viewed as more competition for the starting left tackle spot with Alejandro Villanueva, with the loser becoming the swing tackle. Kelvin Beachum is still in the mix and would be the starter if retained, though he’s drawn lots of interest from the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Beachum posted a photo on Instagram of he and Okung together.
Though many have wondered out loud why the team has invested so much in the position and not defense, there is one clear rationale. The tackle class in this year’s draft is weak in terms of depth. Once you get past Jason Spriggs as a late first, early second round pick, the rest of the group is all over the map. Given that it’s a down year, it’s wise to instead go after free agents to plug those gaps. Kevin Colbert has outlined that is their approach, the draft playing a part in determining their free agent path. Sign where the draft is shallow.
Because the defensive class, at almost every position, is so good, the team can sit back and acquire talent in April, instead of fighting and overspending in free agency.
Hopefully by sometime next week, the dominoes will begin to fall and we’ll know who the Steelers wind up with.