Steelers Veteran Starter Named Surprise Cut Candidate

Dan Moore Jr.

Getty The 33rd Team's Ari Meirov named left tackle Dan Moore Jr. a surprise cut candidate for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers may replace left tackle Dan Moore Jr. with their 2024 first-round pick. Because of that The 33rd Team’s Ari Meirov argued it’s now possible that Moore won’t even open the season on the Steelers roster.

Meirov labeled Moore one of nine players who could be a surprise cut or trade candidate this summer.

Dan Moore Jr. has started 49 games in three seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but his time as a starter could end with the drafting of Troy Fautanu,” wrote Meirov.

“Moore had his fair share of struggles, but Pittsburgh could consider keeping him as a reserve option. He’s entering the final year of his rookie contract.”

Moore has started at left tackle since Week 1 of his rookie season in 2021. He has missed just 1 start since then.

The Steelers selected Moore in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft. But each of the past two seasons, Pittsburgh chose an offensive tackle in the first round of the draft.

2023 first-rounder Broderick Jones started the second half of last season at right tackle while Moore remained at left. 2024 first-rounder Troy Fautanu could replace Moore at left tackle, or Fautanu could start at right tackle with Jones flipping over to the left side.

Projecting Steelers Starting Offensive Tackles

It took Jones until November to enter the starting lineup for good at right tackle last season. For that reason, perhaps the Steelers will be leery of releasing their potential best tackle option off the bench in Moore.

It’s also not yet clear where Fautanu will play. Some analysts projected Fautanu to play guard in the NFL.

However, Pittsburgh’s strength along the offensive line last year was at guard. So, it’s unlikely the team will want to move either left guard Isaac Seumalo or right guard James Daniels.

It’s more probably than not that Fautanu will play right away at either left or right tackle.

As a former first-rounder pick, Jones isn’t heading to the bench. Therefore, if Fautanu plays left or right tackle, Moore will be out of a starting job.

That should mean improvement for the Steelers offensive line because Moore was inconsistent at best. According to some analytics, Moore was one of the worst offensive tackles in the league during 2023.

The Pro Football Focus player grades ranked Moore 50th out of 56 offensive tackles who played at least 50% of the team’s offensive snaps last season.

Why Dan Moore Jr. Could Be Expendable

Even if Jones and Fautanu fulfill their 2024 expectations in the preseason and earn both starting tackle roles, it would make a lot of sense for the Steelers to keep Moore for depth. But he’s not necessarily the best tackle option to have on the bench.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin explained to reporters on November 8 that Moore “is significantly better at left” tackle than right tackle. Judging by the fact Moore hasn’t performed well at left tackle according to some metrics, the Steelers probably don’t want to see Moore have to play on the right side.

So, if Moore loses his starting job, and the Steelers are confident in Jones and Fautanu, it would make sense for Pittsburgh to move on from the 2021 fourth-rounder. That would make room on the roster for a swing tackle who could actually play both positions.

The Steelers could also try to trade Moore prior to releasing him. He should have some value since he has 49 games worth of starting experience.

But any team looking to acquire Moore will have the same issue. They will probably have to start him at left tackle to make acquiring him worthwhile.

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