OT Ryan Harris To Visit Steelers

SUNDAY: Harris will visit the Steelers on Thursday, per Renck (Twitter link).

SATURDAY: The Steelers are leaving no stone unturned as they seek to upgrade their offensive line, and they’re now expected to meet with a left tackle who was part of a championship club in 2015. Former Broncos offensive lineman Ryan Harris is expected to make the trip to Pittsburgh this week, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link).Ryan Harris (Vertical)

The Steelers, of course, have a hole at left tackle pending the status of Kelvin Beachum, who, like Harris, is also a free agent. Beachum is coming off of a torn ACL that wiped out most of his 2015 season, but he’s been stellar in the past, and isn’t wanting for suitors around the league. The 27-year-old has already set up visits with the Jets, Jaguars, and Seahawks, while the Ravens have also expressed interest. While Pittsburgh presumably has interest in re-signing Beachum, the club is said to believe (or possibly hope) it can retain its left tackle via a one-year deal — a possibility that now seems remote given the reported level of interest from other teams.

Harris, then, might be something of a backup plan for the Steelers in the event that Beachum does move on — at the very least, a Harris visit could be used as leverage in any ongoing negotiations between Pittsburgh and Beachum. Harris, 31, started all 16 games for the Broncos last season, grading as the league’s No. 53 tackle among 77 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. It’s starting to look unlikely that he’ll return to Denver in 2016, especially after the club gave a three-year, $14MM deal to fellow tackle Donald Stephenson earlier this week. PFR ranked Harris as the No. 10 free agent offensive tackle, just behind Will Beatty and Byron Bell, and just ahead of Jake Long.

Harris isn’t the only outside option the Steelers are considering — they’ve also set up a visit with Seahawks free agent Russell Okung which is expected to take place tomorrow. Internally, Pittsburgh also acted quickly to retain one key member of its offensive line, signing guard Ramon Foster to a three-year deal earlier this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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6 comments on “OT Ryan Harris To Visit Steelers

  1. wishesgrantd

    “Gaping hole at left tackle” is a very exaggerated claim. Alejandro Vallanueva was very solid last season. It is not imperative for the team to sign a starting LT. And also, from looking at PFF’s Twitter, Harris was the 51st best OT and Villanueva was the 53rd. Negligible difference of 1.3.

    • Dallas Robinson

      That’s a fair point. I’ll remove the word “gaping” to make it more clear, although I still don’t think Villanueva is the answer. I don’t necessarily think Harris is, either, and the best option is probably to work something out with Beachum.

      • Joseph Luthman II

        Villanueva will be fine.

  2. TJECK109

    Honestly if the Steelers could add a quality OT to the line I could almost begin to wonder if they were not going to give consideration to releasing Pouncey. The guy is injury prone and if the rest of the line is solid perhaps it’s a thought

    • dwilson10

      There is no chance the Steelers even consider getting rid of Pouncey. When he’s healthy he is the best center in the league and they don’t have a good enough replacement

  3. Sam Robinson

    Harris performed ably during the playoffs, but the Broncos — with both of their projected OTs out — had one of the worst starting tackle pairings for a Super Bowl champion in memory. Harris was the superior player but projects more as a swing tackle. That said, he hasn’t had a full offseason to work for his new team the past two years and started for both the Chiefs and Broncos, respectively, throughout those seasons. So he has some value left.

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