Will Trade for Levi Brown Help Pittsburgh Steelers’ O-line?

By Clyde A. Speller
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and for the Pittsburgh Steelers, no time is more crucial than now. After starting the 2013 regular season with a 0-4 record, the Steelers made a frantic move and traded a conditional draft pick to the Arizona Cardinals for offensive tackle Levi Brown. The trade will be made official pending Brown passes his physical on Thursday.

Pittsburgh officials tweeted the news earlier today:

The Steelers will take on the remainder of the Brown’s five-year, $30 million contract, which calculates to be $3.35 million for the 2013 season.

This move was made in efforts to improve arguably the worse offensive line the league has seen so far this season. Brown is slated to replace left tackle Mike Adams. Pittsburgh has allowed the fourth-most sacks in the first four weeks of the season (15). Adams is responsible for four of those sacks, which is second most in the league by any offensive lineman. In addition, Adams has allowed the most quarterback hits so far this season as well with six.

Although this move is intended to improve the Steelers’ offensive front, there is a lot of doubt rising to the surface. Brown’s play in Arizona hasn’t met the expectations of most out west, and furthermore, he’s coming off a torn right triceps injury that sidelined him for the 2012 season. Brown himself surrendered three sacks this year to St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn in Week 1.

I have to say that there is probably more offensive linemen who are better than Brown that the Steelers could have pursued. However, looking at the history of the franchise’s salary-cap woes, I must say that this is the best that Pittsburgh could have done.

Inserting Brown at left tackle may not solve all of the problems along the Steelers’ offensive front, but it sure can’t make it any worse than what it is right now. In addition to the 15 sacks surrendered by the team, Pittsburgh is averaging 58.0 yards per game on the ground (29th in the league). If Brown’s presence doesn’t improve the O-line’s pass protection, it should at least improve the running game, since Brown is known as a better run blocker than he is a pass protector.

Unfortunately, for Adams, this could mark the beginning of the end of his career as a starter in the NFL. But replacing the weakest link of the offensive line was something that had to be done, and hopefully will be the beginning of a brand new start for the Steelers once they return from their bye week.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+.

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