It sure seems very unlikely that the Pittsburgh Steelers will find a way to re-sign tackle Alejandro Villanueva prior to him become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday but that apparently isn’t keeping the team from trying to retain the former Army captain just the same.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN on Sunday, the Steelers have had conversations with left tackle Alejandro Villanueva about a return, though they haven’t figured out the contract numbers yet.
Villanueva figures to command a new money price tag of around $15 million after being the Steelers staring left tackle since midway through the 2015 season.
2020 was the sixth full season for Villanueva on the Steelers 53-man roster and once again he started every game and played every offensive snap, 1,099 during the season and 90 more in the playoff loss to the Browns. He also logged 69 regular season snaps on special teams and three more in the Super Wild Card game loss. While Villanueva only allowed two sacks in 2020, he did allow 29 hurries and 15 quarterback hurries in total.
Villanueva incurred six penalties in 2020 with one of those coming in the team’s lone playoff game. While Villanueva is a more than adequate pass blocking NFL left tackle, he had his struggles in 2020 against a few shorter edge rushers and a few that have speed around the corner. Even so, Villanueva has become quite the tackle technician over the years and he’s very underrated overall.
The weakest part of Villanueva’s play as a tackle is his run blocking, which has been the case his entire career. He does not move well out in space and mainly because of his size and build. He lacks quickness off the ball. While Villanueva doesn’t necessarily have a lot of left tackle mileage on him for his age, he will turn 33 just after the start of the 2021 regular season just the same.
The Steelers originally got a steal when it comes to Villanueva’s career in Pittsburgh as not only was he an undrafted free agent, but he also only averaged $6 million per season in earnings in the contract he is now finishing out.