Steelers could decide between James Daniels and Isaac Seumalo in 2025

Pittsburgh's front office may be preparing to choose between their starting guards in 2025.
Green Bay Packers v Pittsburgh Steelers
Green Bay Packers v Pittsburgh Steelers / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

Being the general manager of a football team has to be one of the most stressful front office roles in professional sports. Every year, NFL GMs are asked to make the final call on which players should be cut, traded, extended, and drafted. Meanwhile, the clock is always ticking. Pittsburgh Steelers GM Omar Khan will have his work cut out for him next offseason.

After hardly having a notable free agent hit the market in 2024, things couldn't be more different for Pittsburgh next year. Russell Wilson, Cameron Heyward, James Daniels, Donte Jackson, Justin Fields, Elandon Roberts, and others each have expiring contracts, and decisions about their futures with the team will have to be made soon.

One intriguing topic as of late is the contract status of James Daniels. Alan Saunders of Steelers Now recently reported that Daniels has been informed there will be no contract extension talks between him and the team this offseason.

Because of this, many fans believe that 2024 will be Daniels' farewell tour in Pittsburgh. But that might not be the case.

Steelers could decide between their starting guards

While James Daniels is the starting offensive guard with an expiring contract in 2025, that doesn't necessarily mean he will be the player who is forced out the door. This could come down to a decision from the front office between Daniels and fellow guard, Isaac Seumalo.

Seumalo proved to be an excellent signing last offseason, and he is under contract until the 2026 offseason. Though he has one more year under contract than Daniels, Seumalo's deal is structured in a way that Pittsburgh can get out of his contract after the season.

By doing so, the Steelers would save $7.875 million in cap space, according to Over the Cap -- money that could theoretically go into a James Daniels extension.

There are cases to be made for both players. Daniels is the younger player of the two and there's no question that he has more left in the tank. Though he's entering his 7th NFL season, Daniels is just 26 years old (Daniels was one of the youngest players in the 2018 NFL Draft). Truthfully, he hasn't even hit his prime years as a starting offensive lineman in the NFL yet.

Seumalo, on the other hand, turns 31 years old during the season. At the same time, he was also the better player between the two last year. In 2023, Seumalo graded out as the 12th-ranked guard in the NFL, via Pro Football Focus (Daniels ranked 33rd).

While it is significant that the Steelers won't negotiate an extension with James Daniels this offseason, that doesn't mean that he's certain to be gone in 2025. Omar Khan has a choice to make with the future of the guard position.

With a strong season this year, I wouldn't be surprised to see the team choose to keep a much younger James Daniels around rather than an aging Isaac Seumalo. This decision could be determined by how both starting guards perform in 2024.