Steelers Trade With Vikings, Get Former Dolphins Captain ‘Basically For Free’

Jesse Davis Dolphins

Peter Aiken/Getty Images Quarterback Jay Cutler of the Miami Dolphins falls on a fumbled snap while teammate Jesse Davis blocks Justin Houston of the Kansas City Chiefs on December 24, 2017.

On Tuesday the Pittsburgh Steelers made two sets of roster moves in advance of the 4 p.m. ET deadline to set the team’s 53-man roster. The first set of moves involved 24 players, with the second batch featuring five more cuts and two trades, including the acquisition of outside linebacker Malik Reed from the Denver Broncos.

The second trade of the day was first reported by Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network and saw the Steelers acquire veteran offensive tackle/guard Jesse Davis from the Minnesota Vikings.

According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers are sending a conditional 2025 seventh-round pick to the Vikings in exchange for Davis, who will turn 31 on September 15. The Steelers are “basically getting Jesse Davis for free,” as Alex Kozora of Steelers Depot put it.

Notably, Davis has never played a down for the Vikings, as he signed a $3 million deal with Minnesota in March 2022 after starting 72 games for the Miami Dolphins in the past five seasons. That said, the Steelers are responsible for $1.5 million this year, as noted by Dale Lolley of DK Pittsburgh Sports.

Davis — who is listed as being 6-foot-6 and 318 pounds — entered the NFL in 2015, signing with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent out of Idaho. He failed to make the team and the next year he signed a Reserve/Futures contract with the Jets, spending part of the 2016 season on New York’s practice squad before joining Miami’s practice squad.

He finally established himself with the Dolphins in 2017, starting 72 games over the course of five seasons in Miami, playing mostly right guard or right tackle, but also spending time at left tackle and left guard. Availability has not been a problem for Davis, either, as he played at least 92% of Miami’s offensive snaps in each of the past four seasons, as per Pro Football Reference. He was also seen as a leader in Miami, having been voted a team captain in recent seasons.

How Will the Steelers Utilize Jesse Davis?

Considering that Davis has NFL experience at every offensive line position except center, it’s tough to assess how Mike Tomlin and offensive line coach Pat Meyer might use him.

Jeff Hathhorn, the sports director at 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, said: “I think down the road he could start at right tackle and Chuks Okorafor would replace Dan Moore at left tackle.”

Alternatively, he could be seen as a “better fit at guard than tackle,” as per former Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats.

For what it’s worth, Davis was competing for the starting right guard job with the Vikings, a job he apparently lost to rookie Ed Ingram, a second-round pick out of LSU.

Last year, Pro Football Focus gave Davis a 52.5 overall grade across 1,063 offensive snaps. In 2020 he received a 62.6 grade, and in the years prior to that a 58.9 and 59.2

That perhaps accounts for why there hasn’t been much enthusiasm about the trade on the part of the Steelers fan base or other NFL observers.

“Over the entire history of NFL transactions, the Steelers’ trade acquisition of Jesse Davis is certainly one of them,” quipped Daniel Valente, football editor for The Score.

The Steelers Released 7 Offensive Linemen on Tuesday

It’s clear that the Steelers have been unsatisfied with the development of their offensive line, as they released seven linemen on Tuesday, namely: John Leglue, William Dunkle, Chaz Green, Ryan McCollum, Joe Haeg, Trent Scott and former Ravens offensive tackle Adrian Ealy.

Davis wore No. 77 with the Dolphins but will wear No. 73 for the Steelers.

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