Gerry Dulac: What do Isaac Seumalo, Nate Herbig signings mean for future of Steelers offensive line?
Published in Football
In its most basic form, the signing of two guards in a span of five days in free agency will create competition on the interior of the offensive line for the Steelers.
But considering the investment made to further upgrade a unit that already was vastly improved in 2022, the moves are expected to cost one player his starting position and another probably his spot on the 53-man roster.
The latest addition was former Philadelphia Eagles guard Isaac Seumalo, who signed a three-year, $24 million contract Saturday night that will all but pencil him in as the starter at left guard, replacing Kevin Dotson.
He joins Nate Herbig, who was signed to a two-year, $8 million deal to improve the depth on the offensive line, a move that, in all likelihood, could cost former third-round choice Kendrick Green his spot on the Steelers roster. The Steelers would save only $876,750 if they cut Green, who was inactive for all 17 games in 2022.
The recent moves, though, are not expected to affect the positions of center Mason Cole and right guard James Daniels, each of whom was signed last year in free agency and started all 17 games for the Steelers.
But the signing of Seumalo (6-foot-4, 303 pounds), who started all 20 games for the NFC champion Eagles in 2022, could have an impact on other positions. That's because the Steelers think it gives Cole a reliable, proven player on his left and provides the same dependability to the right side of left tackle Dan Moore Jr. — or, perhaps, in the event they take a left tackle high in the draft.
What's more, Seumalo, 29, and Daniels have also played center, giving the Steelers flexibility in the event of injury.
Herbig (6-foot-4, 334 pounds), who started 28 of 44 games in his four-year NFL career, gives the Steelers another massive guard along with Dotson, who started all 17 games in 2022. For now, though, Herbig is viewed as a backup who will count just $2.54 million against the salary cap this season. He is also insurance for when Dotson becomes an unrestricted free agent after the 2023 season.
It is no small coincidence that Steelers assistant general manager Andy Weidl had both Seumalo and Herbig when he was vice president of player personnel with the Eagles.
(c)2023 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.