Of all of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ notable players who are hitting unrestricted free agency, perhaps the name that has come up the least is veteran offensive lineman Matt Feiler, who has been a primary starter for the past three seasons, and done so at multiple positions.
While he is not a Pro Bowl performer, he has provided more than serviceable play, and versatility on top of that, over the length of his Steelers career, and yet there doesn’t seem to be much discussion, let alone interest, in the team retaining him.
Part of that is obviously due to the development of 2020 rookie Kevin Dotson and the hopes of his taking over the left guard position full-time next season, which is where Feiler played a year ago, but it can be quite readily maintained that, if re-signed, he would be the team’s best option at right tackle, where he started 25 games between 2018 and 2019.
NFL insider John Clayton, however, has been hearing Feiler’s name come up at guard, and in fact views him rather highly at the position. after Brandon Scherff was given the franchise tag, he said on 93.7 The Fan, that it could be argued Feiler will be the second-best guard available behind Joe Thuney.
“The guard market right now, with the guys being shopped right now, and being cut, there’s gonna be at least 10 to 12 guards, and I’m not even talking about free agency, that aren’t gonna be there starting for their team”, he said. “He’s so valuable, because the guard market right now”, adding that he expects him to fetch a contract averaging about $7 million.
In 2020, the Steelers balked at the idea of paying B.J. Finney $4 million per season, which is what he signed for on a two-year deal last March with the Seattle Seahawks. I’m not sure it’s overly likely that they would be open to paying him that kind of money, especially not with Dotson’s emergence.
Yet Clayton seemed to think it was quite possible Feiler remains in Pittsburgh. I have a hard time seeing that if he is going to command $7 million per season, especially if it is with the idea of him starting at guard, as tackle seems to have more question marks even if we assume that Zach Banner is re-signed.
After all, Feiler beat out Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor to start at right tackle multiple times in 2018 and 2019. He showed himself to be the better option, and he played above the line when he was on the field as well. I certainly feel the team is better with him than without him, but as always, it will be a discussion of cost.