In the NFL offseason, rumors can start from anywhere. Those rumors will only grow more legs if players respond to them.
That appears to be what’s happening for Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan. He hasn’t been shy about addressing his future in recent months, and on January 17, he answered positively to a post on Twitter containing a picture of him in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform.
“Those colors so go hard,” Lewan quote tweeted on January 17.
Lewan’s Unclear Future With the Titans
The 3-time Pro Bowler has one season remaining on the 5-year extension he signed with the Titans in 2018. At the time Lewan signed the extension, he was the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history.
But it’s unclear whether Lewan will finish the deal. In December, the offensive tackle shared his doubts that the Titans will keep him for the 2023 season.
“If you were to say ‘what happens to Taylor Lewan with the Tennessee Titans after the season ends?’ You would likely assume that I am released from the team probably February or March,” Lewan said to NFL media personality Kay Adams on FanDuelTV. “That is something that, you know, if you play in this game long enough, you see how the dominos fall.
“Two ACL’s in three years, it’s hard for people to wrap their minds around keeping me in the building.”
Lewan continued to say how thankful he was to be part of the Titans organization. He didn’t sound bitter or ready to leave, but he seemed to be a player accepting his fate.
That could explain his willingness to respond to a Twitter picture of himself in another uniform. Although he’s under contract, Lewan is already saying his goodbyes.
The offensive tackle did, though, respond to another picture on Twitter right after quote-tweeting himself in a Steelers uniform.
Steelers Offensive Line Plan Going into 2023?
The Steelers completed one of their most healthy seasons along the offensive line in years. All five of Pittsburgh’s offensive line starters lined up for at least 96% of the team’s offensive snaps during 2022.
With that continuity, the Steelers improved up front. Pro Football Focus ranked the Steelers 14th in pass protection and 16th in run blocking this past season. PFF had the Steelers 15th in pass protection and 27th in run blocking in 2021.
But the likelihood the Steelers repeat their health along their offensive line in 2023 is slim, and the team still lacks depth up front on offense.
That could make the Steelers potentially interested in Lewan if he becomes available in free agency.
Lewan has made three consecutive Pro Bowls during his 9-year NFL career. As the former highest-paid offensive lineman in history, Lewan was once one of the top left tackles in the NFL.
He’s not the same player, as his most recent Pro Bowl appearance was 2018. Health is a major concern with Lewan. Over the last three seasons, he’s suffered two ACL tears in his right knee.
Lewan hasn’t played a full season since 2017. That’s why it appears likely that the Titans will cut the veteran tackle to save $14.8 million against the salary cap. The Titans will also not have any dead cap money if they release Lewan.
It’s worth wondering whether the Steelers should consider signing a tackle with as many injury issues as Lewan has had lately. As a starting left tackle his entire career, Lewan also doesn’t possess the versatility most teams like in backup offensive linemen.
Presumably, that’s what Lewan would be in Pittsburgh — a backup. It’s not clear if Lewan would accept a backup role. He’s entered every season as Tennessee’s starting left tackle since 2015.
But he didn’t flat out deny the possibility of joining the black and gold on Twitter. Fans can expect the Lewan to Pittsburgh rumors to be in full force if he’s released.