The Steelers are signing former Bears guard and center James Daniels to a 3-year, $26.5 million dollar contract according to a report by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
That means that Daniels’s contract averages out to $8.83 million a year for the Steelers. It is the third such signing the Steelers have done on the offensive line in two days. Yesterday, they signed Mason Cole and re-signed Chuks Okorafor. With the signing of Daniels, the Steelers have another option on the interior. He has made 23 starts at left guard and eight starts at center. Playing in 37 career games at only 24 years old, Daniels, Okorafor, and Cole have a median age of just 24.3.
With the signing of Daniels, however, this likely pushes Kendrick Green into a depth role where he must prove himself. The Steelers came into the offseason ready and willing to attack the offensive line with their cap space, and thus far have done it. Despite these signings, they could reasonably still take a crack at guard or center in the draft. If Tyler Linderbaum were to fall to 20, slotting him in at center and making Cole the backup swing interior offensive lineman might be appealing.
Still, the Steelers have been more aggressive with their cap space, and signing Daniels exemplifies that approach. He should earn one of the three starting interior spots, and the Steelers could push Kevin Dotson over to right guard, where he played mostly in college, if they see that as a more natural fit.