During the early stages of free agency, the Pittsburgh Steelers are following a similar playbook to the one they used last offseason, when they made bargain signings while using free agency to rebuild the offensive line.
In the first two days of the tampering period, the Steelers have stayed true to that philosophy by coming to terms with eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson to an affordable two-year deal and agreeing on a two-year, $8 million deal (with a reported $4 million guaranteed) with former Jets guard Nate Herbig, according to NFL Media.
Along with coming to terms with Herbig, the Steelers and cornerback Damontae Kazee also agreed on an extension that keeps in him Pittsburgh for the next two seasons, via theScore. The Steelers were able to keep Kazee in the fold after former starter Cam Sutton agreed to terms with the Lions on Monday.
A former undrafted rookie, Herbig signed with the Eagles and appeared in two regular-season games as a rookie. Herbig started 12 games in 2020 with the Eagles dealing with several injuries on their offensive line. He made five starts in 2021, which happened to be his final season in Philadelphia.
Herbig was claimed off of waivers by the Jets last May. Nicknamed "Nasty" by his Jets teammates, Herbig started 11 games for Gang Green last season that included New York's Week 4 win over the Steelers.
"We call him 'Nasty Nate,' because if you look on film, he's always out there trying to dump somebody," guard Laken Tomlinson told the New York Post during the 2022 season.
New #Steelers iOL Nate Herbig certainly lives up to "Nasty Nate" nickname. You won't have to teach this guy how to finish on the field.— Josh Carney (@ByJoshCarney) March 14, 2023
Plays through the whistle. A real menace in the trenches. pic.twitter.com/i3GRm74TLr
A native of Hawaii, Herbig played college football at Stanford, where he earned All-America recognition as a freshman. He moved from left to right guard the following season and was tabbed as an All-Pac 12 performer. Herbig earned all-conference honors again as a junior before announcing that he would enter the 2019 NFL Draft. A slow time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine likely contributed to Nerbig going undrafted.
Herbig, who won't turn 25 until this summer, is slated to be placed behind 2022 free agent signee James Daniels on the team's depth chart at right guard. He is the third lineman in two years to be signed by the Steelers, joining Daniels and starting center Mason Cole.
Pittsburgh's offensive line showed considerable signs of growth last season. The Steelers went from last in rushing in 2021 to 16th in the league in 2022. The line allowed just 27 sacks of Kenny Pickett and 11 sacks of Mitch Trubisky.
The Steelers are still expected to add depth to both tackle positions this offseason, as both of their current backups at tackle, Trent Scott and Jesse Davis, are free agents.