Steelers Re-Sign Starting Offensive Tackle to 3-Year Contract

Chukwuma Okorafor

Emilee Chinn/Getty Images Chukwuma Okorafor of the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 8, 2021 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

On Monday afternoon the news broke that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be re-signing starting offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor, with Mike Garafolo and Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network the first to deliver that message.

Little more than an hour later, senior NFL insider Adam Schefter added context, reporting that it’s a three-year contract for $29.25 million, including $20.5 million in the first two years, according to his source.

That’s a surprisingly rich deal for a player that most Steelers fans probably regard as a readily replaceable starter, either via free agency or the forthcoming draft.

But in the spirit of the devil you know, the Steelers prefer to keep their own as opposed to looking outside the organization. And Okorafor—6-foot-6 and 320 pounds—will be entering his fifth season with the team, despite being just 24 years old, having been selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft out of Western Michigan (No. 92 overall).

Okorafor has been a full-time starter for the past two seasons and has a total of 35 starts amongst his 46 career appearances. His Pro Football Focus (PFF) grades from 2021 aren’t particularly inspiring. Last year he earned a 63.0 pass blocking grade and a run blocking grade of 65.9 (63.6 overall). According to PFF he was responsible for two sacks and 11 penalties in 1,078 offensive snaps.

Is This the End for Fellow Offensive Tackle Zach Banner?

One has to wonder if this signing threatens the roster spot occupied by Zach Banner, who inked a two-year contract prior to the 2021 season but seemingly failed to adequately recover from the torn ACL he suffered in the 2020 season opener. Last year he played just five snaps on offense and 27 snaps on special teams (according to Pro Football Reference) while counting $2.875 million against the salary cap.

According to, Banner is scheduled to earn a $5 million salary in 2022 while counting $6.625 million against the cap. If Banner is released the Steelers would save his $5 million salary but would have to absorb $1.625 million in dead money.

For what it’s worth, in 2020 Okorafor led the Steelers in performance-based pay, earning an additional $567,469 over his scheduled compensation after starting 15 games in the wake of Banner going down with the aforementioned ACL injury.

The latest Steelers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Steelers newsletter here!

Buccaneers Cornerback Carlton Davis Off The Market

Last week a report emerged that the Steelers were “targeting” Bucs cornerback Carlton Davis in free agency. Alas, the organization won’t get the chance to pursue him. According to ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter, Tampa Bay has re-signed him to a three-year, $45 million contract.

Of course, Pittsburgh has already re-signed at least one of its own free agent cornerbacks, namely former New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts CB Arthur Maulet. Aditi Kinkhabwala reports that the Steelers “should be” re-signing fellow CB Ahkello Witherspoon “soon.”

Follow the Heavy on Steelers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

Ex-Bears, Bills QB Mitch Trubisky Has Message for Steelers Fans
Ex-Steelers RB James Conner Makes Final Decision on Future With Cardinals
Steelers Rumors: Tampa Bay Bucs Safety is Plan B if Terrell Edmunds Leaves in Free Agency

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x