Connect with us

Steelers News

Will the Steelers Sign a Free Agent Center?

The Pittsburgh Steelers have yet to sign a free agent center, which begs the question on if they will sign one.



Pittsburgh Steelers Guard Nate Herbig
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Nate Herbig before a game against the Green Bay Packers, Nov. 12, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Through two weeks of free agency, the Pittsburgh Steelers still do not have a starting center. They might have one, but it’s a tenuous spot at best. When the team passed on the first wave of free agency and has yet to see anyone else arise on their radar, it has given off some alarm bells. The only known center interest the team has had is Mitch Morse, who came for a visit.

But by now, it certainly does not seem like they will get someone who was an upgrade on Mason Cole and might even have to turn back and re-sign Cole himself. Nick Gates and Brian Allen remain options, and the top center on the market, Connor Williams, is still out there but recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in December with the Dolphins.

General manager Omar Khan discussed the positional versatility of guards Nate Herbig and James Daniels during his chat with the media at the 2024 NFL Combine. But Herbig has played just 49 career snaps at center, and Daniels hasn’t played there since 2019. Could they like their internal options that much?

Williams might be someone to watch here. If his recovery goes well and he becomes an option to sign before training camp opens, he certainly could fit in well. And if things are okay, the Steelers will likely be in the thick of suitors. So, what would that cost? Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus believes Williams could land a 3-year, $22.5 million deal, or $7.5 million per year with $12.5 million guaranteed. But don’t expect that to happen anytime soon, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

“Connor Williams had a pretty significant knee injury. So, he’s taking his time with his rehab. I don’t think his plan is to sign with the Dolphins or any team right now. I think he’s focused on his medical situation — getting healthy — and seeing where he stands. Not any time soon,” Rosenhaus said.

Even the lower-tier options are being eliminated. The Buffalo Bills signed someone like Will Clapp, who has experience there but could be a veteran placeholder. There are very few options left, and they are pigeonholing themselves into addressing it in the NFL Draft, but what if the board does not fall like how they want?

Williams becomes a top target at that point. But a trade has to be thought of in this lane, too. There are always hidden targets out there on the market, and if there is someone that the Steelers would look at on that market and like to acquire, they should explore that route, too.

With the lack of movement here, the Steelers likely like Herbig as an option more than anyone thinks, and they will go into the draft trying to fill that void. But they might not be against letting Herbig start the season as the center, but with his lack of game experience, there must be concerns. Even Spencer Anderson, who can do that, is not a natural center, even if he can play there. It’s a tough tightrope to walk, but the Steelers will tell us their thoughts on those guys in short order. For now, the NFL Draft seems to be the target.