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Former Rams Center Brian Allen Could be Option for Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers could still look to go out and sign former Los Angeles Rams center Brian Allen in the free agency period.

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Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 Free Agent Target Los Angeles Rams Center Brian Allen
Los Angeles Rams center Brian Allen (55) reacts after the team scored a touchdown during an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

The Pittsburgh Steelers still lack a center who has started games on the roster, or at least someone who they would view as playing comfortably there. They have often mentioned Nate Herbig, but with just 49 career snaps at the position, that is dicey, and James Daniels seems destined to play guard.

Allen, 28, has spent all five of his NFL seasons with the Rams, three of them as a starter at center, though he has struggled with injuries throughout his career.

A fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Michigan State, Allen was named a starter in his second season in 2019, but he was lost to a brutal injury after just nine games. He also dealt with a crippling bout of COVID-19 the following year, and ended up missing the entire 2020 season.

In 2021, he had his best year, starting 16 games and being selected as a Pro Bowl alternate, though he did not play due to the Rams playing in the Super Bowl.

He turned that season in a three-year, $24 million contract extension, but knee and thumb injuries limited him to seven games in 2022. In 2023, he lost his starting job to Coleman Shelton and played in just five games as a reserve.

The Rams will absorb a $3.15 million dead cap hit by releasing Allen.

The Steelers will add to their center position this offseason, with 2023 starter Mason Cole released and on the open market. While the 2024 NFL Draft class is strong at the center position, the Steelers could offer a bit more flexibility if they don’t go into the draft needing to land one or into the season with a rookie as their only option.

The Steelers could look to sign a stop-gap free agent such as Allen, who may come cheap on a one-year bounce-back deal. The exchange could give the team much-needed flexibility to head into the NFL Draft. At this point, there is no perfect solution for the Steelers at the center, given their situation, but Allen would give them a nice floor on which they could rebound. It seems like the team is rolling toward drafting a center early in the class without much of a backup plan. Allen gives them the possibility of someone who can provide that security.

On top of that, Pittsburgh could easily slide Allen into a wide zone scheme, one that he has excelled in throughout his career with the Rams under Sean McVay, and the field is just natural. And if they land Graham Barton, Jackson Powers-Johnson, or Zach Frazier, they could start those players. But Allen at least gives the team another option to fall back on, something which they lack on the roster as it stands.