Offensive line additions aren’t typically the sexiest of free agent signings in the NFL. In fact, sometimes it takes another offensive lineman to really emphasize the position.
That’s what Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce did for the Pittsburgh Steelers on May 17. When speaking to reporters, Kelce raved about the addition the Steelers made with guard Isaac Seumalo in free agency.
“Isaac [Seumalo] is a really, really special player,” Kelce told NFL.com’s Grant Gordon. “I know we’ve said that here for a long time, and I still don’t think people really truly grasp what he did for our room. And me personally, I think he’s probably the smartest player I’ve ever been around. Really, really gifted physically, mentally, across the board.
“So I think the Steelers are getting a steal, that’s a good pun, I guess.”
The Steelers signed Seumalo to a three-year, $24 million contract this offseason. He will have about a $3.6 million cap hit in 2023, which will go up to approximately $10.19 million for the final two seasons of the deal.
Prior to this year, Seumalo and Kelce had spent their entire NFL careers together with the Eagles.
Isaac Seumalo Receives High Praise from Jason Kelce
It’s not surprising that Kelce would speak so highly of Seumalo.
The Eagles drafted Seumalo in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft. He’s only started every game of a season twice during his seven-year career. Overall, he made 60 starts in Philadelphia.
But Kelce started next to Seumalo in all 60 of those contests.
There really isn’t anyone else in the league who’s had a closer look Seumalo’s NFL development than Kelce.
“I think he’s one of the best guards in the NFL, and I think he has been,” Kelce said on May 17. “I think he’s one of the most consistent players I’ve ever been around, one of the most consistent people I’ve ever been around.”
Seumalo to Replace Kevin Dotson at Left Guard
One thing the Steelers offense line has had over the past season, particularly in 2022, was consistency with the starting lineup.
Pittsburgh’s starting five offensive linemen led the team in offensive snaps last season. Three of them — guards Kevin Dotson and James Daniels, along with tackle Dan Moore, played every snap on offense.
Other starting offensive linemen, tackle Chukwuma Okorafor and Mason Cole, also played at least 96% of the team’s offensive snaps.
But change is coming to Pittsburgh’s starting offensive line. Seumalo is projected to replace Dotson at left guard.
In the first round of the draft, the Steelers traded up to select tackle Broderick Jones. He could potentially start at left tackle, giving Pittsburgh an entirely new left side of the line.
Adding Seumalo should make the Steelers better up front. Kelce clearly stated that it does.
At the very least, the offensive line free agency additions give Pittsburgh more depth in the trenches.
Seumalo started all 17 regular games and the three playoff games for the Eagles in 2022.
The 29-year-old also started all 16 contests for the team during the 2019 regular season. Although he wasn’t a regular in the lineup during 2017, Seumalo was on the Eagles roster when the team won the Super Bowl.
Seumalo has been a regular Eagles starter since 2019. He missed significant portions of the 2020 and 2021 seasons because of knee and Lisfranc injuries.