It’s rare for any group to stay together for more than a couple years in the NFL. For the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line, their time together may quickly be coming to an end. And they seem to realize it.
“We made a point to enjoy it,” David DeCastro told the Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo Monday. “I think we have. All these guys have been a lot of fun. We’ll see what happens. No regrets from me. I’ve had a lot of fun. We knew it was a unique situation, having all these years together, and we made the most of it.”
There are three possible, perhaps likely, changes to occur in the room over the next couple months.
Ramon Foster’s contract is set to expire. While the Steelers may want him back and ideally, Foster would like to remain in Pittsburgh, his price tag may put him out of the team’s range. Fittipaldo implies it’s a foregone conclusion Foster won’t return, saying he will “almost certainly not be re-signed” and marking the end of his Steelers’ career. He’s started 131 games in black and gold, the second most by any UDFA in franchise history, trailing only Donnie Shell.
Marcus Gilbert may be shown the door with him. An inability to stay healthy the last two seasons, ending 2018 with an unknown knee injury, may cause the team to view him as a cap causality, as Dave Bryan speculated Monday evening. Matt Feiler played well in relief and the team drafted Chukwuma Okorafor to play sooner than later. He held his own in the lone start of the year versus the Denver Broncos. Gilbert’s release may not be the guarantee some others believe but it’s certainly possible.
The biggest blow could happen to the man in charge of all of them. Four teams have requested head coach interviews with Mike Munchak, giving him options after turning down a second interview with the Arizona Cardinals last season. With his name in high demand, it’s difficult to see him not landing somewhere else. Munchak leaving would be the best hire Mike Tomlin ever made walking out the door. The Steelers do have a good Plan B in assistant Shaun Sarrett, who I assume would take over, but few have the resume Munchak offers.
It’s been a fun ride with this group. The talent of this group maximized by one of football’s best coaches. But this ride seems to be closing in on its final stop.