AFC Notes: Steelers, Welker, Pats, Dolphins

The Steelers have invested a significant amount of money in their offensive line over the year, reaching extensions with both center Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert. But as Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune writes, the left side of the club’s offensive line could be in flux, as both left tackle Kelvin Beachum and left guard Ramon Foster are eligible for free agency after the season. Per Kaboly, the Steelers have a policy of ending negotiations once the seasons gets underway, so the team has about three months during which to knock out long-term deals.

As much of the nation celebrates American Pharaoh becoming the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, let’s look at some more notes from the AFC…

  • Responding to readers’ questions in his latest chat, Mike Reiss of opines that the Patriots are unlikely to be interested in a reunion with free agent receiver Wes Welker, calling the situation a “non-story” barring unforeseen injuries. Welker, 34, said last week he wouldn’t be opposed to retuning to New England.
  • On the topic of Patriots reunions, Reiss adds that he doesn’t expect the club to bring back offensive lineman Dan Connolly despite what looks to be a somewhat thin New England front five. Connolly, who started 13 games for the Pats last season, drew some early free agent interest but still hasn’t found a landing spot.
  • Though many in the Dolphins organization seem optimistic about the health status of left tackle Branden Albert, James Walker of believes Albert looked “far from ready” during the club’s OTA session. Albert tore his ACL and MCL during Week 10 of last season, so it’s certainly in question whether he’ll be ready for opening kickoff. Miami would presumably move Ja’Wuan James — who was excellent on the right side as a rookie last year — to left tackle, where he struggled mightily while filling in for Albert.
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