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Two centers with Arthur Smith ties set to hit free agency

As often happens when a top assistant comes over from another team, offensive coordinator Arthur Smith has brought some coaches along (Matt Baker, Mateo Kambui).

Though talk of Ryan Tannehill has died down a bit, it’s still a possibility, as well as some other former players coming over from the Atlanta Falcons and the Tennesee Titans.

After the Pittsburgh Steelers released Mason Cole this afternoon, we had a peak on Spotrac to see if there are any centers who played for him that could be available at the start of free agency.

Aaron Brewer, 26, played at the guard position during Smith’s tenure in Tennessee but moved to center in 2023. Brewer has allowed 18 sacks and 92 pressures in 1,500 pass-blocking snaps. He performs better as a run blocker, with 207 plays with a positive grade, per Pro Football Focus.

Brewer’s market value, according to Spotrac, is $5.2 million. Signing him after cutting Cole would be a wash.

Matt Hennessy took 1,169 snaps at center before moving to guard in 2022. Hennessy allowed six sacks and 50 pressures in 849 pass-blocking snaps and had 106 plays with a positive run-block grade. Hennessy, 26, entered training camp last year as the team’s starting left guard but, according to ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, sustained a knee injury on the third day during a run play in an 11-on-11 drill and was placed on injured reserve.

Mike Tomlin highly values position flexibility and both of these players fit the bill, but neither Brewer nor Hennessy really stand out as the answer to their years-long issues at center.

What it boils down to is the Steelers need not to replace Mason Cole but Maurkice Pouncey. My vote is to stop going back to the free agent well and snag one early in the draft who can be that guy for a decade-plus. Smith preaches winning in the trenches and a top rookie will go a long way to helping achieve that.

Story originally appeared on Steelers Wire