On Thursday, the Steelers parted ways with David DeCastro and moved quickly to find his successor. Now, we have the terms of Trai Turner‘s deal – the veteran guard will earn just $3MM on his one-year deal (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport).
That’s a solid value considering that Turner is a five-time Pro Bowler. While the Chargers cut bait with Turner after just one year, he offers the toughness, experience, and upside they lost by cutting DeCastro.
Turner found a tepid market for his services since knee and groin problems limited him to just nine games in 2020. Pro Football Focus slotted Turner as the league’s second-worst guard in 2020, but he could easily return to his old form if he’s healthy.
The 28-year-old comes to Pittsburgh with 89 career starts, making him the most senior member of the offensive line. In the hours betwee DeCastro’s release and Turner’s agreement, left tackle Chukwuma Okorafor held that mantle with just 19 career starts.
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 a Pittsburgh front that will look radically different compared to 2020.
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.
Turner’s health has been an issue for a while, his run of Hawaii trips notwithstanding. He missed three games in each of the 2017, ’18 and ’19 seasons. But the accomplished blocker said he is back to 100%, and Thursday’s 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 17 combined Pro Bowls from their offensive line this offseason, with DeCastro now a free agent, Maurkice Pouncey having retired and Alejandro Villanueva having signed with the Ravens. DeCastro appears to be considering retirement as well. His departure leaves a major 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.
Shortly after releasingDavid DeCastro, it appears the Steelers are trying to replace him. Less than a week after their Trai Turnervisit, the Steelers are discussing a deal to bring in the five-time Pro Bowler, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
The Chargers cut Turner this offseason, and the longtime starter has made just one free agency visit. The seven-year veteran guard battled through an injury-plagued 2020, leading to an early Los Angeles exit. But the decorated blocker said recently he is now fully recovered. At his best, Turner would certainly help a Steelers line facing major questions after considerable offseason turnover.
Turner made every Pro Bowl from 2015-19, establishing himself as one of the NFL’s top guards. The Panthers opted to extend him and let Andrew Norwell walk in free agency. While Turner rewarded Carolina, he also has not played more than 13 games in a season since 2016. The Chargers acquired him via trade last year but could only use him in nine games due to injuries.
Still, Turner just turned 28 and is one of the top free agents available. The Steelers have fully dismantled the offensive line that helped establish the team as a perennial Super Bowl contender in the 2010s, with DeCastro (released), Maurkice Pouncey (retirement) and Alejandro Villanueva (now a Raven) gone. DeCastro and Pouncey combined for 15 Pro Bowls and four first-team All-Pro honors.
Turner’s experience would help a Pittsburgh team that will feature a 39-year-old Ben Roethlisberger and a host of unproven blockers. As of now, no Steeler O-lineman has more than one season of NFL starting experience. And only one — tackle Chukwuma Okorafor — even meets that criteria.
We haven’t heard much about Trai Turner lately, but he told SiriusXM (Twitter link) that he’ll “make a splash sooner [rather] than later.” Meanwhile, the free agent says that he’s now fully healthy following a year of maladies.
“Last year was a rough season for me with injuries and just [COVID-19] overall. You go through things and situations arise, but you work through it and you get through it,” Turner said. “So, I’m feeling good. I’m just ready to come back and have a phenomenal season.”
Turner met with the Steelers recently, his only known visit of the offseason. The five-time Pro Bowler has been on the market since March, when the Bolts released him to save ~$11MM against the salary cap. Now, he stands as one of the very best free agents on the board.
Turner, 28, mounted a Pro Bowl streak from 2015-19. But, last year, he was limited to just to nine games. All in all, the former Panthers third-round pick has 89 career starts to his credit. He may be a good fit for the Steelers, though there are other teams with more dire needs at guard. As it stands, those spots are manned by All-Pro David DeCastro and promising youngster Kevin Dotson.
Retooling on their offensive line, the Steelers are looking into veteran help. They brought in Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner for a visit Friday, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).
This is the first known visit for Turner, a five-time Pro Bowler whom the Chargers released in March. The Bolts attempted to trade the decorated blocker but could not find a taker. Still, Turner is one of the top free agents available in mid-June.
Turner turned 28 earlier this week and mounted his Pro Bowl streak from 2015-19. Injuries limited the ex-Panther standout to nine games in 2020, but he figures to have a few seasons left in the tank. The former third-round pick has made 89 career starts. That number would jump out on the current Pittsburgh O-line.
All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey retired, and the Steelers let longtime left tackle Alejandro Villanueva sign with the Ravens in May. Multiyear starter Matt Feiler is now with the Chargers, with whom he is in line to succeed Turner as a guard starter. Interestingly, the Steelers’ most stable O-line spot may be guard. All-Pro David DeCastro is the lone remaining “Killer B’s”-era O-line starter, and the team gave 2020 fourth-round pick Kevin Dotson three starts as a rookie. Pro Football Focus viewed Dotson’s first-year work sample favorably, slotting him as a top-30 guard.
Turner certainly would represent an experience upgrade on the second-year blocker, but injuries have impacted his career in recent years. Turner missed seven games last season and was sidelined for nine over his final three Carolina campaigns. The Panthers, who signed him to a four-year deal worth $45MM, traded him to the Chargers for Russell Okung in 2020. Turner’s next contract will likely be a prove-it deal, potentially setting him up for one more notable payday in 2022.
The Chargers have officially released Trai Turner (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The Chargers were unable to find a suitable trade for the Pro Bowl guard. Instead, they’ll release him outright to save ~$11MM against the salary cap.
The Bolts acquired Turner from the Panthers last year, in exchange for sent Russell Okung.When the Bolts acquired him, Turner was hot off of five straight Pro Bowl appearances and just graded out as the No. 31-ranked guard in the league, according to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus. Plus, there was the hope that he could get back to his best work. In 2015 – his coming-out party – he ranked as one of the game’s very best.
Turner was set enter the final season of the four-year, $45MM pact he signed with the Panthers. The decorated blocker missed much of his Bolts debut season, playing in just nine games. Knee and groin injuries led to Turner missing most of the season’s first half.
He will join a host of talented offensive linemen as cap casualties leading up to free agency, a list that includes longtime guard starters Kevin Zeitler and Gabe Jackson. With his age-28 season still ahead, Turner should generate interest on the open market.
Featuring veteran-laden offensive line after last year’s free agency period, Los Angeles now has some key holes up front. Mike Pouncey‘s retirement and the Turner move will give the Chargers some work to do in free agency and the draft.
The Chargers are actively shopping Trai Turner, a source tells ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The former Pro-Bowl guard seems on course to be traded or released soon, Schefter adds.
Turner is set to make $11.5MM this year, the final season of the four-year, $45MM pact he signed with the Panthers. The Bolts were happy to pick up the tab around this time last year in the trade that sent Russell Okung to Carolina. Turner was hot off of five straight Pro Bowl appearances and just graded out as the No. 31 ranked guard in the league, according to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus. Plus, there was the hope that he could get back to his best work. In 2015 – his coming-out party – he ranked as one of the game’s very best.
Unfortunately, injuries limited Turner to just nine games in Los Angeles. The Chargers, meanwhile, are out to remake their offensive line and shore up Justin Herbert‘s protection. In a matter of days, Turner will either be elsewhere or looking for his next opportunity.
6:01pm: Turner wants a new contract, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. It remains to be seen whether the Chargers would be willing to give him a deal that reflects the current guard market.
4:44pm: The Chargers and Panthers have reached tentative agreement on a trade that would send tackle Russell Okung to Carolina and guard Trai Turner to L.A., according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). It’s a swap of two big-time and big-bodied offensive lineman that addresses areas of need for both teams.
The deal is not yet official, but it sounds like the core pieces are in place. Once the new league year begins on March 18, the deal can be finalized.
The Panthers started shopping Turner earlier this month and it didn’t take long for a deal to come together. He’s got two years to go on his four-year, $45MM pact, but the Chargers are happy to pick up what’s left of the tab. The contract is not cheap by any stretch, but the guard market has rapidly advanced to the point where interior enforcers are getting ~$15MM year.
Turner, who has made the Pro Bowl for the last five years, has 84 career games and 80 NFL starts to his credit. Last year, he graded out as the No. 31 ranked guard in the league, according to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus. In 2015 – his coming-out party – he positioned as one of the game’s very best.
Okung was skeptical of his future with the Chargers and vocal about his complaints against the team. His L.A. tenure has been a bit of a mixed bag. In Year One, Okung earned Pro Bowl honors. Unfortunately, he lost much of last season due to blood clots in his lungs and a painful groin injury. All in all, he appeared in just six games for the Chargers.
No one expected Okung to fetch a ton on the trade block – he has one year left on his four-year, $53MM deal and the Bolts seemed likely to cut ties. His contract calls for a sizable $16.7MM cap hit; the Chargers had an escape hatch, however, that would have left them with just $3.5MM on the books.
The Chargers already have more than $50MM in available cap room and shedding Okung’s deal would push them into $60MM+ territory. They can direct those funds towards finding Philip Rivers‘ replacement or stick with Tyrod Taylor as their starter and spread the funds all around.
Okung, who is also looking to lead the NFLPA’s charge in CBA discussions, would probably be happy to rejoin offensive line coach Pat Meyer.
While Cam Newton‘s Panthers status is still uncertain, longtime Carolina stalwarts Luke Kuechly and Greg Olsen are out of the picture. And another sign the Panthers are rebuilding may come on the trade market.
The Panthers are shopping five-time Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Carolina extended Turner in 2017, and despite going into his seventh season, the former third-round pick will only be 27 by Week 1.
Turner would almost certainly bring back value for the Panthers, who have paid all the guaranteed money left in the acclaimed blocker’s contract. The Panthers prioritized Turner over Andrew Norwell— whom they let walk in 2018 — and the former’s four-year, $45MM pact looks somewhat team-friendly now that the guard market is likely set to move past the $15MM-per-year benchmark.
With the majority of the NFL beginning their 2019 campaigns tomorrow, a number of teams have slightly tweaked contracts in an effort to open some extra cap space. We’ve compiled some of the notable restructured contracts from this morning, along with some details on some recently-completed deals.
The Broncos converted $17MM of Joe Flacco‘s base salary into a signing bonus, reports NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). The front office also added a pair of voidable years to the contract, thus opening around $13.6MM in 2019 cap space. The veteran quarterback is still on the books for $20.25MM in 2020 and $24.25MM in 2021.
The Giants made a similar move with offensive tackle NateSolder, according to Pelissero (on Twitter). The front office converted $7.5MM of the veteran’s base salary to a fully-guaranteed roster bonus, opening up $5MM in cap space. Solder will still earn the same amount of money over the next two years ($13MM in 2019, $14MM in 2020).
One more from Pelissero (via Twitter): the Panthers restructured the contracts of defensive tackle Kawann Short and offensive lineman TraiTurner, opening $13MM in cap space. While the team could use that open money for extensions, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets that the transaction is “more about taking cap space into next year.” Linebacker ShaqThompson and cornerback JamesBradberry are impending free agents, while running back ChristianMcCaffrey and quarterback CamNewton could be eyeing lucrative extensions.
The Rams converted $2.25MM of punter JohnnyHekker‘s base salary into a bonus, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The move opens up around $1.69MM in cap space, allowing the team is better accommodate the recent extensions for quarterback JaredGoff and tight end TylerHigbee.
Center Mike Pouncey‘s one-year, $9MM extension with the Chargers will guarantee him $5MM in new money, tweets ESPN’s Dan Graziano (via Twitter). The guarantees include a $2.5MM signing bonus and $2.5MM guaranteed salary in 2020 (the full base salary is $6MM). The veteran’s cap number is now $10MM in 2019 and $7.75MM in 2020.
Jacoby Brissett‘s two-year, $30MM extension with the Colts includes an $11MM signing bonus, reports Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). The quarterback has a $2MM salary for 2019, $2MM in per-game roster bonuses (for both years), and a $7MM roster bonus that’s guaranteed in March. As Volin notes, the 26-year-old will likely earn around $13MM to $15MM this season before renegotiating next offseason.
Josh Doctson‘s deal with the Vikings is for one year at the league minimum of $720K, reports Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (via Twitter). The deal includes no guaranteed money. Following the signing of the wideout and punter Britton Colquitt, Minnesota is now sitting with around $1.17MM in cap space.