The Pittsburgh Steelers had a long list of pending free agents entering this 2021 league year, and the vast majority of those free agents have signed a contract somewhere. Some, like JuJu Smith-Schuster and Cam Sutton, have opted to stay in Pittsburgh, while others, like Mike Hilton and James Conner, have found new homes elsewhere.
One of the bigger names which remains on the free agent list is left tackle Alejandro Villanueva.
Throughout the offseason there have been rumors of Villanueva wanting to possibly retire, some reports have him returning to the Steelers after the 2021 NFL Draft, but the most recent report from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is how Villanueva is slated to meet with the Baltimore Ravens this week.
A piece of interesting free agent news: #Steelers FA OT Alejandro Villanueva is set to visit the #Ravens this week, league source said. With some moving parts on Baltimore’s O-line, they plan to check out Villanueva in person.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 19, 2021
If Villanueva decided to stay within the AFC North, he would be joining the likes of Hilton, who signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, who will face their former team twice a year. However, nothing is set in stone just yet, nothing more than an in-person visit.
What would be interesting is if Villanueva leaves Baltimore without a contract, and remains on the open market throughout the draft. If that scenario pans out, would the Steelers be interested in bringing him back?
The answer to that questions largely depends on the draft itself. If the Steelers are able to get a tackle with one of their eight picks, would it be worth it bringing back Villanueva? Most would say no. Villanueva’s play, although he was graded as the best offensive lineman for the Steelers in 2020 with the folks at Pro Football Focus (PFF), would leave some to suggest his play is deteriorating.
Nonetheless, if Villanueva does sign elsewhere, it would be just one more piece of a once dominant offensive line gone from Pittsburgh. The only player remaining from that group would be right guard David DeCastro.
Will he sign with the Steelers’ biggest rival? Only time will tell, so be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the rest of NFL Free Agency and the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.