3. Mason Cole, Center
If we look at Mason Cole for what he should be -- a career backup interior offensive lineman -- we would all like him in that role. But that's why fans are getting so frustrated with some of the decisions this team has made. In one of Kevin Colbert's final free agent moves, he signed Cole to a three-year, $15.75 million deal during the 2022 offseason.
This is starter money for a player we all were able to identify as a backup. He should be in the 'B.J. Finney' role; not the replacement for Maurkice Pouncey. Cole had some solid film in 2022, but the center position still looked like a spot that the Steelers needed to upgrade.
Now in 2023, Cole looks like a player who should be coming off the bench in the event of an injury; not a guy who deserves to be starting every game for the past two seasons. Cole is grading out among the worst at his position this year, according to Pro Football Focus, and the film backs up his pedestrian grade.
Because of Cole's unspectacular performance in 2023, the center position could be high on Pittsburgh's priority list during the 2024 offseason. The Steelers can save $4.75 million by getting out of his contract in the new league year, and I would shocked if they didn't wave goodbye to Mason Cole in 2024.