Connect with us

Steelers News

High-Upside Center Emerges as Potential Steelers Solution



Steelers free agent option center Lloyd Cushenberry

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan said during the 2024 NFL Combine that the team has faith in the ability of guards James Daniels and Nate Herbig to play center if necessary, but it seems clear that center is one of the team’s top needs of the offseason.

In an interview with our partners at WPXI, Khan expressed a desire to land the next great Steelers center.

“You know at the center position, there’s a high standard here,” Khan said. “I got spoiled. Man, I was around Maurkice Pouncey and Jeff Hartings during my time here. Obviously, there’s Dermotti Dawson. There were plenty of great centers here. There’s a high standard, so we owe it to ourselves to look at everything to find the next great Steelers center.”

The Steelers brought former Buffalo Bills center Mitch Morse in for a visit on Friday. However, Morse did not make a deal with the Steelers during his time in Pittsburgh. He is now expected to take a visit with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

If the Steelers don’t sign Morse, there’s still a good crop of centers in free agency. Pro Football Focus thinks Denver Broncos center Lloyd Cushenberry would be a perfect fit in Pittsburgh.

“Much is being said about the Steelers’ quarterback situation this offseason. Regardless of who is throwing the ball, they won’t stand a chance to succeed unless their offensive line significantly improves. The draft figures to be a place to find reinforcements, but they should still look for veteran help,” Dalton Wasserman of PFF wrote.

“Pittsburgh recently cut starting center Mason Cole, leaving the spot up for grabs. Denver’s Lloyd Cushenberry III could be a nice fit in Arthur Smith’s outside-zone run game if the Steelers can afford him. Cushenberry posted a solid 84.6 run-blocking grade when running outside zone in 2023, the sixth-best mark among all centers.”

Morse earned $6.6 million in base salary, a $6 million signing bonus and a $510,000 per-game roster bonus with the Bills in 2023. They absorbed a $3 million dead cap charge for his singing bonus in 2024. It’s not clear what type of salary range or contract he will be seeking moving forward, but Cushenberry would be a cheaper option in free agency.

The Steelers’ options at center are appealing across the board. Guys like Cushenberry, Andre James, Connor Williams, and Aaron Brewer make sense if they go for free agency. Meanwhile, in the NFL Draft, Jackson Powers-Johnson and Zach Frazier are certainly guys to watch. They have not hidden their affinity for both of those players. The team is showing their hand already with Morse making a visit on the South Side.