2023 Free Agents Analysis: OL Jesse Davis – Unrestricted

Player: Jesse Davis

Position: Offensive Line

Experience: 6 Years

Free Agent Status: Unrestricted

2022 Salary Cap Hit: $1,450,000                

2022 Season Breakdown:

For the second time in as many seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers acquired via trade a player whom their trading partner signed as an outside free agent. It was cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon just before the regular season in 2021. Last season, it was offensive lineman Jesse Davis, acquired from the Minnesota Vikings for a conditional late-round draft pick in 2025 just before the season started. I believe it’s unknown what those conditions were, before anybody asks, or whether or not they were met.

So what did they get out of Davis? Well, a $1.45 million cap hit, for one, though the Vikings paid him $1.5 million in 2022 because that’s what they gave him in a signing bonus on a one-year, $3 million contract.

They also got zero offensive snaps, although he regularly dressed as one of the Steelers’ eight active linemen. He was, however, the eighth. Trent Scott was their swing tackle and J.C. Hassenauer was their interior reserve.

Davis’ most prominent role was as a member of the field goal kicking unit, in which he logged 58 snaps. This from a man who started 72 out of 80 career games before joining Pittsburgh, unbeknownst to him.

Free Agency Outlook:

Should the Steelers be interested in re-signing Davis? Well, yes, because they have minimal offensive line depth. They simply need bodies, and experienced bodies are slightly preferable in this context. Davis has experience, primarily as a tackle, but is also capable of playing guard.

And he should be cheap. Even though he got a $3 million contract in 2022, he’s probably looking at veteran minimum this time around after what was essentially a year off. I would imagine few healthy players sign for much more than the veteran minimum following a year in which they play zero offensive or defensive snaps and are not significant pieces on special teams.

It would be valuable to bring Davis back and simply allow him to compete for a roster spot as the Steelers look to rebuild their offensive line depth. If he earns a spot on the roster, then all the better, provided it is earned.

One thing to consider is the timing of his arrival. He came in at the end of August. The offensive line as a whole took time to adapt to Pat Meyer’s system in 2022. Perhaps with a full offseason to work with Meyer, he can get back to a point where he can be at least a primary reserve.

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