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Steelers Sign Veteran OL Trai Essex To One-Year Deal

When Max Starks and Flozell Adams were released early on in the free agency period, there was speculation that one of the two might be re-signed after the Steelers got under the salary cap. That hasn’t happened yet, and Monday’s news might signal that neither Starks nor Adams will in fact be back in the black and gold. That news would be the signing of veteran reserve Trai Essex to a one-year deal on Monday. The financials of the deal have yet to be disclosed, but it’s safe to assume that the contract will be for the veteran minimum.

Neal Coolong of Behind the Steel Curtain had this to say about what the move might mean for the Steelers:

The timing of Essex’s re-joining the roster will fire up speculation on the health of projected starter Jonathan Scott, who has suffered multiple injuries this preseason.

He went down early in the Steelers’ 24-14 win over Philadelphia in preseason Week 2, but MRI results were negative. Rookie T Marcus Gilbert replaced Scott against Philadelphia, but he went down with an injury as well. His MRI results were also negative.

Essex has spent all six of his professional seasons with the Steelers dating back to 2005. The former third-round draft pick out of Northwestern is not a very intriguing starting option, but his versatility might prove valuable to a Steelers offensive line that is very much still in flux at the moment. Essex has played at both tackle spots, as well as at right guard, where he’s started 21 games the past two seasons.

For more Steelers news, analysis and fan discussion, stay tuned here and at Behind the Steel Curtain.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.