The Pittsburgh Steelers are adding another element to their offensive line, apparently signing guard Rashaad Coward. This comes via Ian Rapoport from NFL Network.
Former #Ours OL Rashaad Coward, a non-tendered tender, is expected to sign with the #Steelists, the source said. Former DL who made his way into the starting lineup on offense, Coward is now coming to Pittsburgh.
– Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) 29 mars 2021
It’s a one-year contract, according to his agent.
One-year deal for OL Rashaad Coward with the Steelers, according to his agent. #Steelists
– Dépôt Steelers 🧐 (@Steelersdepot) 29 mars 2021
Coward, 26, had spent his career with the Chicago Bears after being undrafted in 2017 at Old Dominion. He started his career as a defensive end before being moved to the offensive line for the 2018 season. Pittsburgh is no stranger to online conversions. Alejandro Villanueva and Brian Mihalik are two recent examples of defensive linemen who have come across the trenches. Ready to be a restricted free agent, the Bears chose not to offer him, allowing Coward to strike free will.
Strangely, the story seemed first reported on Reddit with a user saying he heard the news while playing a Call of Duty game. On Saturday, Coward appeared to indicate that a signing was imminent.
God’s plan 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾 #Recognizing
– Rashaad Coward (@RashaadCoward) 27 mars 2021
Damond Talbot of the NFL Draft Diamonds spoke to Coward about the news.
“I was actually on the phone with my agent talking about possible destinations. We had several teams interested and Pittsburgh was an interesting option. I heard that they might be interested and I really thought it was the best option for me. I feel like I can come to Pittsburgh and compete now, and after the news the fans have been very supportive. After a few days I asked my agent to tell Pittsburgh that I was interested in joining their team and the rest is history.
I feel inside myself that I can help this football team on the field and be an asset to the communities around the Pittsburgh area. I can’t wait to play for the Steelers.
And a few moments ago Coward tweeted a confirmation.
– Rashaad Coward (@RashaadCoward) 29 mars 2021
Along the O line, Coward has started 15 career games, all in the past two seasons. Five of them occurred in 2020, between week 6 and week 10. Apart from these departures, he recorded only seven offensive shots the rest of the season.
He is the third offensive line veteran the Steelers have signed this offseason. Pittsburgh reunited with BJ Finney for a one-year contract after his release from the Cincinnati Bengals. Last week they signed a two-year contract with OT / OG Joe Haeg.
The Steelers add depth to a transitioning offensive line and still determine their starting five for 2020. Depth at guard was slim with Finney in pencil as a starter right now. Over the past two years, the Steelers have lost guards Fred Johnson and Derwin Gray to drop claims.
In a strong offensive line class, the Steelers remain likely to invest in the offensive line. At this point, adding a long-term option to the center seems to be their top priority. But with Chukwuma Okora entering the final year of his rookie contract, Pittsburgh could also consider stepping up its tackling depth later in the draft.