With the Pittsburgh Steelers already tight against the salary cap and needing to make room just to fit Bud Dupree under the limit with a franchise tag, the team is obviously not expected to be very active in free agency, though even in the tightest of years they tend to make at least one or two small additions to provide depth and competition.
One of the likely areas that they could target, depending upon what happens in the next couple of weeks, is the offensive line. They have B.J. Finney a pending unrestricted free agent, Matt Feiler a restricted free agent, and Ramon Foster could be a candidate to be released. They also lost some depth with Fred Johnson and Patrick Morris both being claimed off waivers last season.
An ESPN Insider article recently attempted to connect one free agent with each team, and for the Steelers, they selected Ereck Flowers, a former first-round draft bust of the New York Giants who saw himself able to resurrect his career a bit last season in Washington, making from tackle to guard.
Flowers was the butt of his fair share of jokes as the Giants’ left tackle, leading to a situation in which the Redskins signed him to a one-year, $3.2 million deal to be their starting left guard. In his first year at the position, Flowers ranked 19th out of 39 qualifying left guards in PFF overall grade. For a Pittsburgh team that is strapped for cap space and possibly moving on from 34-year-old Ramon Foster at left guard, getting a 25-year-old, league-average starter for well under the price of top options such as Joe Thuney and Brandon Scherff would be a win. The Steelers would just have to hope that guard is, in fact, Flowers’ best position and that he can at least maintain the level of play he showed in 2019.
Suffice it to say that I am not enamored with this idea, and think it would make a lot more sense to just re-sign Finney to plug into the left guard spot, to which he has felt like the heir apparent for years now. He has started five games at left guard in place of Foster, and seven other starts combined at right guard and center over the past four seasons.
If worse comes to worst, it could be an option, but even then, I might expect the Steelers to move Feiler to left guard and allow Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor to compete for the right tackle job. It would make more sense for the team to be looking for a depth option at a cheaper price tag than what Flowers is likely to field.