The Pittsburgh Steelers relied on internal growth and maturation when it came to growing their offensive line this offseason. They signed two new veteran starters in free agency, but otherwise entrusted the fate of the unit to new line coach Pat Meyer and patience.
It largely worked out if you go by the manner in which the unit as a whole matured over the course of the season, but that certainly doesn’t mean the front office can’t reasonably look for improvements. One area in particular many fans would like to see addressed is left tackle, where 2021 fourth-round pick Dan Moore Jr. has started for the past two seasons.
And one name that’s been floated around is former Pro Bowler Taylor Lewan, a nine-year starter for the Tennessee Titans. Appearing on the Steel Here podcast with Jersey Jerry and Kevin Adams, he said that he thinks it’s logical the Titans would cut him, and admitted that he’s thought about playing for head coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers before. Something he hinted at earlier this offseason.
“Mike Tomlin was the head coach of the Pro Bowl in 2017”, he recalled. “He is a fantastic individual. I think he is so cool, he’s calm. You hear the guys talk about him, how great he is in the locker room and how he handles the locker room. Being a leader of men is a very difficult thing to do, and when I was around him that short week in a very calm and relaxing setting, I thought to myself, ‘Man, this is a cool coach to play for’”.
The Steelers’ coaching staff was asked to coach the AFC team in the Pro Bowl at the end of that 2017 season, during which year they sent three offensive linemen in Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, and Alejandro Villanueva. Lewan said he could see himself in that group.
“That would be a very cool locker room to be in”, he admitted, and he extended that to the head coach as well. “If I was to make a list of head coaches that I’d like to play for, Mike would definitely be in the top part of that list”.
16 years into his tenure as head coach of the Steelers, this is nothing new when it comes to players talking about Tomlin. Unfortunately for many fans, they’re more interested in his getting results in terms of wins rather than how cool players find him to play for.
As far as Lewan goes, he is coming off of his second torn ACL in three years and hasn’t played a full season in half a decade. He is due to make just under $15 million for the Titans in 2023, but Tennessee could cut him with no dead money.
Toward the end of the interview, he basically said outright that he wouldn’t even consider a deal for less than eight figures, and was open about the fact that he is weighing retirement at this point in his career, though he allowed that he still very much has the fire to keep playing if he is capable of performing at a high level.
What do you think? Would you like the Steelers to try to sign Lewan? He will be 32 in July, has a lengthy injury history including a current ACL. He missed time during the 2021 season because his previous ACL injury from 2020 never fully healed. And he would want at least $10 million to play even one season.