Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers Would Be Wise to Sign Both Wallace and Velasco


Make no mistake, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a solid triumvirate at the center and guard spots with Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Ramon Foster. Pouncey has made three Pro Bowls, DeCastro looks primed to head to Hawai’i one day and Foster is a model of steadiness at his position.

Yet as we saw last season, a potentially strong starting lineup means nothing once the games are played and injuries occur.

Pouncey missed essentially the entire 2013 campaign with an ACL injury. DeCastro missed one start and was hobbled at times by an ankle issue. While Foster started all 16 games last fall, he had to come out for spells in two of them due to shoulder and head injuries.

I cannot give enough kudos to Velasco and Wallace for their work last fall, and both combined to start Pittsburgh’s final 15 games at the center position after Pouncey went down on opening weekend. Best of all, Wallace and Velasco turned in some solid performances during that stretch.

That is particularly amazing when one considers that Wallace was not even active on game days to start the 2013 regular season, and Velasco was signed off of the street in the aftermath of Pouncey’s injury. Heck, Wallace had not even started a game at the professional level until he was called upon in Week 14!

Due to their capable play, I for one would like to see the Steelers attempt to sign both players to new contracts during the upcoming offseason. Although inking unrestricted free agents (UFAs) will be no easy task for the cap-strapped franchise, bringing Velasco and Wallace back should be an absolute must for Pittsburgh’s front office.

It would not hurt the Steelers whatsoever to have the interior of their offensive line shored up for an extended period of time, and the fact that Velasco and Wallace have enough versatility to chip in at guard as well as center is a huge plus.

How much it would cost to secure both Wallace (2013: $630,000 base salary) and Velasco (2013: $715,000 base salary) is certainly a question. Yet I think that Pittsburgh’s brass would not have to shell out more than $1-$1.5 million in base salary per season to keep each backup under contract due to Velasco’s recent Achilles injury and Wallace’s relative inexperience.

Solidifying their depth in the offensive trenches will hopefully be an offseason goal for the Steelers. To meet that goal, it would behoove the front office to bring Velasco and Wallace back into the fold for at least one more season for insurance purposes.






Stats & Contract Info. Provided By: ESPN.comSteelers.comSpotrac and Pro Football Reference


Follow on Twitter: @DominicDiTolla and @NicePickCowherC

Like “NPC” on Facebook: Nice Pick, Cowher

Next Steelers Game View full schedule »
Thursday, Aug 2828 Aug7:30Carolina PanthersBuy Tickets

Tags: 2014 Free Agency Cody Wallace Fernando Velasco Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Robert Schultz

    triumvirate ? That’s good! Had to look that one up! But anyways, I wholeheartedly agree that the Steelers need to sign both these guys. For as little as Wallace played, I was very impressed with his play. The dude has that “killer instintic” (and nut grabbing) that Willie Colon had!

    Too bad Mike Adams doesn’t posses that kind of nastiness. If Adams had that (and hadn’t smoked to many brain cells), he would be a freaking beast!

  • spam 90210

    This just shows that C is the least important position on offense and not a place where we should be wasting high draft picks or salary cap dollars. As much as everyone blows smoke up Pouncey’s butt, you would think it was the most important position on the O-line. Pouncey is nice for an occasional screen pass lead blocker, but he isn’t particularly large/strong and never pushes a 370 lb DT/NT out of the way. So sure, sign up these back-ups who played great for dirt cheap and see if anyone will give us a 1st rounder for Pouncey so we can use it on a OT who have to be able to protect Ben from a highly skilled DE/OLB all by himself on an island 20-30 times a game. Even one mistake and it can cost us the game or a major injury to Ben and cost us the season. Ben can outrun any NT coming at him. The C only has to get between Ben and the DT/C. Not worth big bucks. Sign both of them like this article suggests.