Updated: Mar 15
(Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Along with re-signing right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor, the Steelers also intend to add veteran center Mason Cole, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Schefter says it's a three-year deal for the former Cardinals and Vikings center. Per Field Yates of ESPN, Mason Cole’s deal with the Steelers is for $15.75 million with $11 million paid out in the first two years.
Cole, 25, was selected by the Cardinals in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Michigan product started 30 games at center and two at guard in Arizona. Last March, Cole was traded to Vikings in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Cole made four starts at center and three at right guard last year for the Vikings.
The center position is a big weakness for the Steelers, so adding some veteran depth was much-needed. The Steelers put faith in Kendrick Green starting as a rookie last year and it ended up being a disaster. He was clearly not ready to start, and he could have been out of place at center as he's naturally a guard. In college, Green made just four starts at center. Ben Roethlisberger even said on WDVE during the season that Green is better suited for the guard position.
Even with adding Cole, it wouldn't be surprising if the Steelers draft a center. And luckily for the Steelers, this year's class is expected to have a lot of depth.
"I can't remember a draft where we've had this many guys I think that can plug and play at center," Jeremiah said. "Usually you have two or three of them in a draft, we've got a handful."
Luke Braun of Locked on Vikings thinks Cole is a better guard than center.
"His hands are late off the snap (and he’s a notoriously bad snapper), Braun tweeted. "Taking the snap out of his hands goes a long. I think he’s a starting caliber guard."