Steelers: 4 potential replacements for Alejandro Villanueva in 2021

Chukwuma Okorafor #76 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Chukwuma Okorafor #76 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /
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The Steelers are going to need to find a way to replace Alejandro Villanueva at left tackle. Here are four names who could be the answer in 2021. 

The free-agent frenzy is about to begin, and we don’t have a lot of answers as to what the Steelers will be doing this March. In most years, they would have re-signed many of their starting veterans before allowing them to test the market; however, we are operating under very unusual circumstances in 2021.

Because of the pandemic, the cap number looks like it’s going to come in at just $182.5 million, and with Pittsburgh having 19 unrestricted free agents this offseason, the chances of retaining most of them remain slim – especially considering they currently have just over $5 million in spending money.

One of the biggest names on the list of players likely to walk this offseason is left tackle, Alejandro Villanueva. Tackle is one of the most important positions in football, and one of the hardest to find. With Villanueva expected to cash in big with a contract that could exceed $16 million per season, according to, here are four options at left tackle for the Steelers in 2021:

Chukwuma Okorafor

Chukwuma Okorafor got the chance to start for the Steelers after Zach Banner went down in Week 1 against the Giants with an ACL tear. Unfortunately, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the young offensive tackle. Pittsburgh drafted Okorafor knowing that he was going to be a bit of a project, but his athletic traits had them intrigued.

While his 2020 performance didn’t exactly give us a boost of confidence, Okorafor has a chance to be the next man up at left tackle for the Steelers. The former third-round pick really struggled against power on the right side, but he does have excellent foot quickness, and his skill set is probably better suited to play on the left side. Okorafor may never pan out to be the tackle Pittsburgh hoped for when they drafted him, but he seems to be a likely candidate to fill in for Villanueva in 2021.