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Mason Cole Reunion Could Be in the Cards for Steelers



Steelers Center Mason Cole
Pittsburgh Steelers cneter Mason Cole in a game against the Baltimore Ravens on Jan. 6, 2024. -- Steelers Now / Ed Thompson

With the free agent market pretty much dried up now, many are wondering what are the Pittsburgh Steelers doing at center. Sure, they can select a blue chip center like Jackson Powers-Johnson of Oregon or Zach Frazier of West Virginia in the draft, but they still need a suitable backup. Guard Nate Herbig is center-capable, but he only has 49 career snaps at the position in the regular season.

With the paper-thin depth at center, could a Mason Cole reunion possibly be in the cards? Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette thinks so.

“The Steelers think Mason Cole would be a very good backup. So, yes, I would,” Dulac said when asked during a recent Q&A if he would bring Cole back.

The Steelers made the unusual move of releasing starting center Mason Cole in the middle of the offseason , as part of a four-man cleansing of the Pittsburgh roster by general manager Omar Khan that went beyond the usual salary compliance.

Khan wanted to give Cole a head start in free agency, but he has yet to land with another team. Given Cole’s performance in 2023, it’s not surprising that he’s still a free agent. He had one of the worst overall Pro Football Focus grades for a center last season, as he struggled mightily in pass protection and consistently had poor snaps.

Cole might be a good depth option, but would he want to return and serve as a backup? I think Cole would rather have a change of scenery, but it’s possible if the Steelers are the only team that wants him.

Cole was a third-round pick in 2018 by the Arizona Cardinals and started all 16 games in his rookie season. Cole was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He spent one season in Minnesota before playing the last two seasons in Pittsburgh.