Pittsburgh Steelers add guard James Daniels to O-line with three-year deal

The Pittsburgh Steelers have agreed to a three-year, $26.5 million contract with Chicago Bears guard James Daniels, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Besides reaching a deal with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the Steelers have focused on the offensive line during the free-agent negotiating period, also agreeing to re-sign right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor and adding center Mason Cole, also on three-year contracts.

Daniels, who turns 25 in September, was drafted 39th overall by Chicago in 2018 and has started 48 games. He began his NFL career predominantly playing left guard before becoming the Bears’ starting right guard in 2021. He also has experience at center, where he spent time during the 2019 season and played during his final two years at Iowa.

Daniels’ position flexibility on the interior helped him develop into a productive player for Chicago. After a pectoral injury limited Daniels to five games in 2020, he came back healthy in 2021, playing all 17 games at right guard and posting the best pass blocking and run blocking grades of his career, according to Pro Football Focus.

Still, the offensive line was a problem spot for Chicago in 2021. According to PFF, the Bears ranked 25th in team pass-blocking grade while then-rookie quarterback Justin Fields had the second-highest rate of pressured dropbacks in the NFL at 42.8%.

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin contributed to this report.

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