When starting right tackle Willie Colon went down on opening day 2011 in the Debacle at Baltimore, many in Steelers Nation expected Kevin Colbert to head to the red phone for Flozell Adams. Adams, turned the table and offered his services to the Steelers, but the response was “No thanks.”
- Instead the Steelers opted to entrust Ben Roethlisberger’s strong side protection to rookie second round pick Marcus Gilbert.
In starting Gilbert doing so, the they made a deliberate shift away from the “Plug and Patch” approach to offensive line building that plagued the Steelers during the Mike Tomlin era. (OK, they only stuck with Jonathan Scott for few weeks more, before deciding to bring Max Starks back.)
- Today the Steelers reaffirmed that commitment, whey the resigned Gilbert to a 6 year 30 million dollar contract with 7.65 million signing bonus.
The move marks a stunning turnaround for the Steelers attitude towards Marcus Gilbert. Although has started 34 of the Steelers last 36 games, poor play early in 2013 forced Mike Tomlin to rotate Kelvin Beachum at both tackle slots in the Steelers loss to Chicago.
However, the Steelers have seen enough of Gilbert to offer him a long term contract, and one must assume that new offensive line coach Mike Munchak had input on the decision.
- Mike Adams status remains an issue of doubt.
Adams has not pushed either Gilbert or Beachum for a starting spot, and according to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review’s Alan Robinson, is competing with Guy Whimper for the Steelers number 3 tackle position.
Third Offensive Lineman Resigned
Following the 2009 season the Steelers began a commitment to rebuilding their offensive line by picking Maurkice Pouncey in the 1st round of the 2010 draft. Earlier this spring the Steelers resigned Pouncey to a 48 million dollar, six year deal. Gilbert is the third lineman resigned during this rebuilding phase, with the second being Ramon Foster, who signed a 3 year deal in 2013.
All of this good cheer round Gilbert’s deal must come with a caveat.
- While the Steelers intentions at right tackle are clear, recent history suggests reality often fails to match intentions.
During the Mike Tomlin era, the Steelers have signed a full starting line up on the offensive line (Max Starks, Jonathan Scott, Sean Mahan, Justin Hartwig, Chris Kemoeatu, and Willie Colon), only to cut them well before their contracts expired….
Defense to Get Some Love?
In addition to Pouncey and Gilbert, the Shaun Suisham is the only other Steelers summer contract negotiation. It’s been widely suggested the Cortez Allen would get a new deal, but that has yet to materialize.