Steelers miss their shot to sign the top center in free agency

The top center is officially off the market, and the Steelers will have to look elsewhere for help in free agency.

Denver Broncos v Houston Texans
Denver Broncos v Houston Texans / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

After signing Russell Wilson to be their starting quarterback in 2024, the Pittsburgh Steelers still had plenty of needs entering the NFL's legal tampering period. One of their biggest comes at the center position. Since the retirement of Maurkice Pouncey, this team has tried to fill the void at the center, but nothing has worked out.

Pittsburgh stomached a miserable season of Kendrick Green before turning to Mason Cole. In 2023, Cole proved to be one of the worst starting centers in the NFL, and it was no surprise to see the Steelers release him entering the 2024 offseason.

With a gaping hole on the roster at the center position, many fans expected the Steelers to attempt to sign one of the top free agents on the market at the position. Unfortunately, less than a half-hour into the tampering period, the best free-agent center was already off the market.

CBS reporter Jonathan Jones confirmed that the Tennessee Titans are signing Lloyd Cushenberry.

Cushenberry, the former starting center of the Denver Broncos, is coming off an outstanding 2023 season in which he graded out as a top-10 center in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

Steelers had a chance to fix the interior offensive line

Unlike many of the offensive linemen available in free agency, Lloyd Cushenberry has age on his side, as he turned just 26 years old late in the 2023 season. After some ups and downs early in his career, it's safe to say that his best football is ahead of him after a breakout campaign last year.

Cushenberry also has good size for the position at 6'3'' and 315 pounds with long arms (34 1/8''). This would have been a welcome change to a team that has struggled with power and anchoring ability at the center position for years.

While the Titans have found an anchor in the middle of their offensive line, the Pittsburgh Steelers still looking for theirs. The good news is that there are still some quality players on the market that the front office may be able to sign.

If the Steelers miss out on signing a capable center in free agency, they will likely be forced to spend one of their top picks in the 2024 NFL Draft to address this need. Let's hope they can find a way to cover their bases at the center position soon.