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Omar Khan Won’t Rule Out Steelers Trading for Center

The Pittsburgh Steelers could look to the trade market to acquire their next starting center, Omar Khan said.



Steelers Nate Herbig
Pittsburgh Steelers guard Nate Herbig at OTAs, May 25, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Pittsburgh Steelers are open to trading for a center, according to general manager Omar Khan. While most assumed they would either sign or draft a center, there is that third avenue to trade for someone, though no obvious candidates are on the market. Mike Tomlin acknowledged they had to add someone to that room.

“It’s still a work in progress,” Tomlin said. “Obviously, we’ve still got Herbig on our roster, but we’ve got some work to do there, whether it’s continued in free agency and/or the draft. We’ll get something done, obviously at that position, but you can say the same thing about some other obvious positions where we might be short on the depth chart from a number standpoint.”

However, Khan’s proposition on potentially trading for someone is new, mainly because the candidates on the market are invisible to the public eye. It’s not a league with lush center talent, and most teams that filled voids at center did so out of necessity. Meanwhile, this draft has multiple players that could fit with the Steelers’ offense. However, the trade route has to be considered, given how Khan has dealt over his first year and a half as general manager.

“All options there are still on the the table,” Khan said. “There are still some players out there that are free agents. You know, there might be some trade opportunities and there’s the draft. But, we have Herbig around as I mentioned to you guys in Indy and we have some offensive lineman that have some versatility and I didn’t see how Coach T described it but there’s still a lot of time between now and Latrobe.”

Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson, Duke’s Graham Barton, West Virginia’s Zach Frazier and Georgia’s Sedrick Van Pran are all considered first or second-day draft picks. In free agency, guys like Brian Allen and Nick Gates lead the way.

Tomlin made it clear that the leadership responsibilities of the center position won’t hold him back from starting a youngster at that spot, if that’s the way the Steelers end up leaning.

“I think it can be (a leadership position),” Tomlin said. “But it’s not as much of a requirement as you can say the quarterback discussion.”

Tomlin has already had experience in starting a rookie at center in his tenure, drafting Maurkice Pouncey in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft and Kendrick Green in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. It’s safe to say that one of those acquisitions worked out better than the other.