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Another Starting Center Off the Market, Signs with Panthers

Another free agent center option for the Pittsburgh Steelers is off the free agent market as it continues to evolve.



Pittsburgh Steelers OLB T.J. Watt Baltimore Ravens OL Bradley Bozeman
Baltimore Ravens guard Bradley Bozeman blocks Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt during a game at M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 2, 2020. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Yet another starting center is set to come off the free agent market for the Pittsburgh Steelers and other center-needy teams as former Panthers center Bradley Bozeman is heading to the Los Angeles Chargers on a one-year deal, according to a report by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Bozeman, 29, has experience at both center and guard and had been a five-year NFL starter. Bozeman had been entering the second year of a three-year, $18 million contract, and was due a $1.5 million roster bonus on March 16. His release will save the Panthers $4.4 million in salary cap space, but create a $3.3 million dead cap hit.

Originally a sixth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens out of Alabama in 2018, Bozeman is familiar with the AFC North. He started one game at left guard for the Ravens as a rookie in 2018 before assuming the starting mantle at that spot in 2019. He played every game but one over the next three seasons in Baltimore, moving from left guard to center in 2021.

He signed a one-year deal with the Panthers in 2022 before re-signing last spring.

Bozeman is the latest in a number of starting centers to be released this offseason, including Mitch Morse of the Buffalo Bills and Brian Allen of the Los Angeles Rams. In addition, starters Aaron Brewer of the Tennessee Titans, Lloyd Cushenberry of the Denver Broncos, Andre James of the Las Vegas Raiders, Evan Brown of the Seattle Seahawks, Tyler Biadasz of the Dallas Cowboys and Lucas Patrick of the Chicago Bears are set to become unrestricted free agents.

The Steelers released starting center Mason Cole last month, and are certainly in the market to replace him this offseason, whether that’s through free agency, the 2024 NFL Draft, or both.

“You know at the center position, there’s a high standard here,” general manager Omar Khan said at the NFL Combine.“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 in center Mitch Morse before the legal tampering period but have yet to address ti since then.