Pittsburgh Steelers fans were enamored with the Cincinnati Bengals’ work in free agency, adding three starting offensive linemen in center Ted Karras, guard Alex Cappa, and eventually, tackle La’el Collins. While the Steelers also added a starting center and guard to their line, however, the quality of play at tackle between the two teams can hardly be compared.
Dan Moore Jr. was a fourth-round rookie a year ago when he started 16 games during the regular season, and without acclaim. While he generally improved over the course of the season, he would have to take a significant leap in year two to be regarded as a competent starter. Right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor earns few additional laudatory remarks for his own four-year body of work.
If there were one position where the Steelers could really benefit from adding a modestly-priced starter, I would argue that it would be the tackle position. Bill Barnwell seems to see it the same way, listing a Steelers signing of tackle Eric Fisher as one of 10 post-draft free-agency signings he is predicting. He writes for an ESPN Insider piece published last week on Fisher and the Steelers:
Speaking of Fisher and the left tackle market, there really aren’t any openings remaining at the moment. The Panthers and Seahawks addressed their holes in the draft. The Bears need a left tackle, but they don’t seem committed to spending much money or helping Justin Fields in 2022. Fisher and the Colts weren’t able to come to terms on a new deal in March, and if a reunion was going to happen, it seems like it would have taken place by now.
The Steelers started rookie fourth-rounder Dan Moore for 16 games in 2021 and didn’t get great results; Moore ranked last in the NFL among tackles in pass block win rate and was about league average against the run. The Steelers shouldn’t immediately abandon their hopes of developing Moore into a valuable tackle, but adding Fisher would give them a reliable left tackle to protect first-round pick Kenny Pickett. Pittsburgh already imported Mason Cole and James Daniels this offseason, so we know it is comfortable adding linemen in free agency.
The Steelers did sign a veteran free-agent tackle after the draft, though it certainly wasn’t Fisher. They added Trent Scott, a former college free agent and journeyman who has spent the past four years with two different organizations working under Pat Meyer as offensive line coach, whom Pittsburgh hired this year.
Scott is obviously not going to be viewed as a threat to start—indeed, he’s not even guaranteed to make the roster. It’s entirely possible, arguably even likely, that he didn’t even receive a signing bonus. His addition would not impede them from making another move.
With that said, it’s hard to see them making that sort of move at this point. As always, it would come down to price. Last year, Fisher, while coming off of an Achilles injury after being released by the Colts, signed a one-year contract with the Colts worth over $8 million.