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New Free Agent Center Option Hits Open Market



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)

A new center option has hit the free agent market for the 2024 offseason, as the Los Angeles Rams have released veteran center Brian Allen, the team announced on Wednesday.

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 are expected to make additions to their center position this offseason, with 2023 starter Mason Cole struggling and entering the final season of his contract. While the 2024 NFL Draft class is strong at the center position, the Steelers likely won’t want to go into the draft needing to land one or into the season with a rookie as their only option.

But they could also save $4.75 million against the 2024 salary cap if they release Cole before mid-March. 

The Steelers could look to cut ties with Cole and sign a stop-gap free agent such as Allen, who may come cheap on a one-year bounce-back deal. The exchange could let the team save some money to use elsewhere in free agency.