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Top Center Andre James Off Market after Re-Signing with Raiders

Andre James is off the free agent market for the Pittsburgh Steelers and other teams as he re-signed with the Raiders.



Steelers C Andre James

Andre James, one of the top centers on the free agent market, will not hit the open market as the Las Vegas Raiders are re-signing him, his agent David Canter announced on Sunday. That will set into motion the wheels for the free agent market at center, which is exceptionally deep. Along with a draft class that boasts at least two centers which appear, plug-and-play guys, there could be more than that depending on how teams view Graham Barton and Sedrick Van-Pran Granger. For the Steelers, that clearly means adding one before the draft so they do not have to panic before the season.

Now, the value of James’ new deal is unknown, but he is likely getting near the top of the center market money for this cycle. It will give a good barometer for what players such as Lloyd Cushenberry will get. But with Mitch Morse and others being added to this open market, the free agency group is shockingly deep and that means teams like the Steelers, who need a center, should at least sign one to fill a gaping void at the position.

Morse met with the Steelers on Friday. He left to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars but it appears that no deal has been struck between either of the sides just yet.

Morse, 31, was released by the Bills earlier this 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 they could also sign one of the top names in free agency, like Cushenberry or Connor Williams, or aim a bit lower for Aaron Brewer. But with James off the market, that is one less option for the team.