Pittsburgh Steelers pick up former Carolina Panthers OL Trai Turner

Pittsburgh Steelers to sign free-agent guard Trai Turner
from Pro Football Rumors by Sam Robinson, and posted at YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com

This big day for the Steelers’ guard position continues. They team quickly tabbed a David DeCastro successor, agreeing to terms with Trai Turner on Thursday evening.

It’s a one-year deal for the Pro Bowl guard, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). This will provide a Steelers offensive line incredibly light on experience with a seven-year veteran who has ventured to five Pro Bowls. The Steelers brought Turner in for a visit late last week. While that summit seemed a bit odd, DeCastro’s release vacated yet another position on Pittsburgh’s front.

Despite trading Russell Okung for Turner straight up last year, the Chargers cut bait after one season. The Bolts shed Turner’s Panthers-constructed contract after he played in just nine games in 2020. A groin injury sidelined Turner for six games last season, after a knee injury caused him to miss Week 1. When Turner returned, he could not recapture his Panthers form. Pro Football Focus slotted Turner as the league’s second-worst guard in 2020. Of course, his health was probably an issue during his lone L.A. season.

Health has been an issue for Turner, despite his run of Hawaii trips, in recent years. He missed three games in the 2017, ’18 and ’19 seasons with Carolina as well. But the accomplished blocker said he is back to 100%, and the Steelers agreement signals they concur with his assessment. Turner, 28, resided as one of the top free agents left. His experience (89 career starts) could be vital for a Steelers O-line without anyone close to that total.

The Steelers lost 15 combined Pro Bowls from their offensive line this offseason, with DeCastro now a free agent and Maurkice Pouncey having retired. DeCastro appears to be considering retirement as well. His departure leaves a major experience void on a Steelers line whose most veteran member — left tackle Chukwuma Okorafor — has made 19 career starts. Turner and 2020 fourth-round pick Kevin Dotson, who started four games as a rookie, appear set to work as Pittsburgh’s guards this season.