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Steelers Miss Out on Free Agent Center Mitch Morse



Steelers possible free agent target center Mitch Morse

The Pittsburgh Steelers landed one of their two early free agent targets on Monday, by agreeing to a one-year deal with quarterback Russell Wilson just after midnight, but their other early target got away, as center Mitch Morse has instead agreed to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Steelers hosted Morse for a free-agent visit on Friday, the same day they hosted Wilson, but were unable to reach a deal with the former Buffalo Bills center. He then traveled to Jacksonville for a meeting with the Jaguars, and came away agreeing to a two-year $10.5 million contract with $7 million in guarantees, according to a report by Mike Garofalo of

Morse, 31, was released by the Bills last week as part of a large, salary cap-related blood-letting. Morse spent five seasons in Buffalo and earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2022. A 6-foot-6, 305-pound Missouri alum, he was the primary starter at center for the last five seasons for the Bills. Before that, he spent four seasons as the center for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Steelers are in the market for a center after releasing starter Mason Cole earlier this offseason. They have just one natural center on their roster, in practice squad player Ryan McCollum.

Steelers general manager Omar Khan said during the 2024 NFL Combine that the team has faith in the ability of guards James Daniels and Nate Herbig to play center if necessary, but it seems clear that center is one of the team’s top needs of the offseason.

“We have position-flexible guys that are starters in the league as it is, but we’re always going to try to improve the team,” Khan said. “We cut our starting center from last year. We feel good about Nate Herbig. But if there’s an opportunity to bring in some good competition, we’re going to do it.”

As such, the Steelers have been repeatedly linked to the top center options in the 2024 NFL Draft class, including potential first-round pick Jackson Powers-Johnson of Oregon and potential second-round pick Zach Frazier of West Virginia.

But the Steelers do not like to go into the draft absolutely needing to make a selection at a specific position, and Morse could shore up the spot for the short-term, leaving a draft pick to develop under the Pro Bowler.

Morse earned $6.6 million in base salary, a $6 million signing bonus and a $510,000 per-game roster bonus with the Bills in 2023. They absorbed a $3 million dead cap charge for his singing bonus in 2024. It’s not clear what type of salary range or contract he will be seeking moving forward.

Morse is the first free agent center the Steelers have reportedly been in contact with. They also met with free agent quarterback Russell Wilson on Friday. The regular free agent contact period, for players that have not already been released, begins on Monday.