Free agent offensive linemen the Steelers need to sign ASAP

JC Tretter #64 of the Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
JC Tretter #64 of the Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

With back-to-back poor performances from the Steelers offensive line, any of these five free agents should be valid targets for the team.

The Steelers have seen some positives from their team as of late in the preseason, but there has been a major issue with the team as a whole: the offensive line. Players that need to take a jump haven’t, the unknowns are still struggling to make an impact, and even the more established names are looking lackluster. If this is how the line plays into the regular season, we will be in trouble.

While expecting to find a capable starter this late in the offseason is a tough task, the team has to do something here. No, signing all of these names and starting them isn’t a solution, but one or two of these names would help bring in some competition and push the rest of the roster. Here are five free-agent linemen the Steelers need to consider.

Steelers may finally consider Fisher

A name that has been attached to the Steelers for most of the offseason, Eric Fisher is becoming more of a possibility after the first two preseason games. Of the names on this list, I see Fisher as the least likely. That said, some help is needed at this point.

The issue with Fisher is his injury history. He has struggled to stay healthy, and as a result, he can’t be counted on. As well, he is limited to the left side, as he has rarely strayed away from that side of the line. I think there are better and more versatile options out there, but Fisher has to be seriously considered at this point.

Tretter could fill a variety of roles

Another name I’ve seen a lot of interest stem from is J.C. Tretter. This makes sense, as Tretter is viewed as one of the best centers in the league when healthy. He was a cap casualty for the Browns in the offseason, but he was still a well-regarded interior lineman before he was dumped from Cleveland.

The issue with Tretter is that while he can play at guard, his best position is center. Meanwhile, Mason Cole has actually been one of the best linemen for the team so far in the preseason. Could Tretter still fit? Sure, but he would need to get acclimated to guard in a hurry as the season is right around the corner.

Williams has the versatility you want

While Daryl Williams doesn’t possess the recognizable name that some of the other options on this list have, he would make a lot of sense for the team. At one point in time, he was viewed as an up-and-coming tackle with the Panthers before injuries derailed him a bit. He has rebounded somewhat and would be a viable guard or right tackle for this team.

His versatility is what makes him appealing. If the team wanted to add some competition at tackle (considering Chukwuma Okorafor can play left tackle), Williams could be slotted in at right tackle. If they want to focus along the interior of the line, then Williams could shift to guard. Either way, Williams would be a valuable addition to this struggling line.

Bulaga would be a steal if healthy

At one point in time, Bryan Bulaga was seen as one of the best right tackles in the league. He was consistently holding his own when protecting for the Packers, and it resulted in a nice payday for the veteran when he signed with the Chargers. Injuries prevented him from maximizing that time there though, and he was cut this offseason.

Assuming he is healthy, Bulaga is the best name on this list. Sure, he is a right tackle only, but what was said for Williams would apply to Bulaga. He can slot in at right tackle and allow Okorafor to compete on the left side. It all depends on his health, but if Bulaga is ready to play, he would be the best fit for the team.

Flowers could solve the issue at guard

It has been an ugly display for the Steelers at guard so far in the preseason. James Daniels has looked lost, Kevin Dotson has looked hit or miss, and Kendrick Green has looked like just a plain miss. This group can barely sustain blocks, and they could get a quarterback seriously hurt if their play doesn’t improve.

While not a perfect player by any means, Ereck Flowers can hold his own at either guard spot. He was a late bloomer as a former top-ten pick, but he is now a serviceable starter. With every guard on the roster struggling. Flowers would be a viable option to start. This would leave the other three, and likely Daniels, as the primary starter on the other side.

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The Steelers offensive line has been the talking point for the team so far in the preseason. They have looked bad, and some competition somewhere needs to be brought in. Again, cutting everyone and starting random free agents isn’t a solution (the team needs some of their offseason investments to play). That said, one or two of these names could help with the competition and provide some pressure from behind.