Top Potential Landing Spots for Former Pro Bowl OG David DeCastro After Release
It isn't often a player of David DeCastro's caliber hits free agency before training camp.
But the Pittsburgh Steelers released the two-time first-team All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler on Thursday, opting to replace him with free agent Trai Turner. The move saved cap space for the team and came while the 31-year-old veteran deals with an ankle issue.
For his part, DeCastro says he'd be fine hanging up the cleats if the ankle doesn't heal right after surgery, according to ProFootballTalk's Curtis Crabtree: "Gotta see how the surgery goes. But I'd have no problem calling it a day and moving on with my life."
But if DeCastro wishes to continue his career, there are some teams that should have an interest. While last year was a "down" season for the former first-round pick by his career-long standards, he still didn't allow a sack in 845 snaps by Pro Football Focus' metrics—and has allowed just two dating back through the 2017 season.
The top landing spots for DeCastro won't mind waiting on his services and have a bigger need than most on the interior of their respective lines.
If DeCastro wants to stay in the ground-oriented AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals might be his best bet.
Those Bengals had to remake the offensive line this offseason after the season-ending injury to No. 1 pick Joe Burrow. But the decision to take Ja'Marr Chase over Penei Sewell at fifth overall hangs over the club because veteran free-agent addition Riley Reiff isn't a guaranteed upgrade at right tackle.
Cincinnati will also ask second-rounder Jackson Carman to come in and start at guard, leaving two journeymen—Quinton Spain and Xavier Su'a-Filo—to compete at the other guard spot. Starting center Trey Hopkins continues to work his way back from a season-ending knee injury suffered late last year.
While the Bengals might not want to derail Carman's development, DeCastro is an on-paper upgrade over the other two veterans. He'd also classify as insurance if Carman struggles (and the rookie could be the long-term option at right tackle, anyway).
Given the need to put the best possible five in front of Burrow, the Bengals would likely be willing to pay up more than most, too.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders took a strange, winding course to blowing up the offensive line this offseason, so why not cap it off by adding DeCastro, right?
Las Vegas traded away starters Rodney Hudson, Trent Brown and Gabe Jackson before drafting offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood at 17th overall. The big weakness in the plan to date might be penciled-in guard Denzelle Good, who earned a 56.7 PFF grade (a "replaceable" grade) last year over 958 snaps, allowing two sacks and getting called for five penalties.
That's where DeCastro comes into play.
If the goal is to make sure Leatherwood develops properly on the edge while Derek Carr attempts another 500-plus passes and the team contends, slapping a veteran like DeCastro on the interior would make a ton of sense. It would also let the former Steelers standout potentially contend for a title in the process.
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots took one of the bigger losses along the offensive line of any team in free agency this offseason when franchise player Joe Thuney opted to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs.
New England did manage to get center David Andrews back under contract but didn't address the unit as a whole until the sixth round of the draft. It was an odd approach given how much of the uncharacteristic free-agency spending went to remaking the roster around Cam Newton via additions such as Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry.
Still, the Patriots could back into an upgrade over the summer anyway if DeCastro wants to play. Second-year sensation Michael Onwenu can only start in one spot, after all, and the addition of a veteran could mean he sticks at right tackle instead of guard, where he spent time in college.
The Patriots seem to hope that the return of Trent Brown can shore up a tackle spot, but he's missed 16 games since 2018 and last year only earned a 68.9 PFF grade. DeCastro is a known commodity and gives the Patriots options while in the pursuit of contending and/or breaking in first-round passer Mac Jones.
At a time when it's pivotal to do whatever Russell Wilson wants to keep him in town, the Seattle Seahawks should probably be sniffing around DeCastro, who grew up locally and played high school ball nearby.
For now, the Seahawks intend to start 24-year-old Damien Lewis at one guard spot, though a move to center (he played a game there last year) might not hurt thanks to the underwhelming battle there between Ethan Pocic and Kyle Fuller.
Seattle also traded for the aforementioned Gabe Jackson, but he shouldn't just be locked into a starting role after a paltry 63.7 PFF grade last year. Yes, the Seahawks gave him a three-year extension, but everything pales in comparison to making sure one of the league's best passers wants to stick around for the long term. Wilson, after all, has a potential out in his contract after this season.
For DeCastro, Seattle would be a homecoming of sorts and a chance to play for a contender as his career winds down. For the Seahawks, it might be another positive step toward steadying the proverbial ship after an offseason of speculation around the star quarterback.