The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead, they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.
On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answering, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: Do the Steelers still believe Kendrick Green can play?
This might not sound like the most pertinent question in the world right now, but consider this: Kendrick Green is the only notable backup offensive lineman currently under contract. While they have all five of their starters good to go for 2023, they have a lot of fleshing out to do behind them.
J.C. Hassenauer has been their primary backup center for the past couple of years. He is due to be a restricted free agent. They could keep him without letting him test the market, but it would cost them $2,627,000. Do they want to pay that?
The other backup linemen on last year’s roster were Trent Scott and Jesse Davis. Davis dressed, but only played on special teams for 58 snaps, and his contract voids. Scott played a whopping 31 offensive snaps, primarily as an extra lineman. He will be a free agent.
So the question of whether or not the Steelers believe Green is capable of playing is actually pretty significant. That doesn’t mean that they would cut him right now if the answer were no, but it would place increased urgency on the need to identify and acquire quality offensive line depth.
A third-round pick in 2021, Green was a full-time starter at center as a rookie. The Steelers signed Mason Cole in 2022 to start there, however, and they moved Green to guard, where he was more comfortable, competing with and losing to Kevin Dotson for the starting job.
I don’t imagine they would expect him to win any starting jobs this year. But it seemed telling to me that they didn’t even make him one of the eight active linemen on Sundays even though he was theoretically capable of playing both guard and center. Maybe they think he needs another year in Pat Meyer’s system?