Report: Steelers Meeting With Texans Free Agent OL Antoine Caldwell

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports on Tuesday via Twitter that Houston Texans free agent offensive lineman Antoine Caldwell will be meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers need depth on their offensive line behind their five starters as tackle Max Starks and guard Doug Legursky are both unrestricted free agents and might not be re-signed. Currently, the starting five consist of Marcus Gilbert, Mike Adams, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, and Ramon Foster, who was re-signed just before the start of free agency.

Caldwell was originally drafted by the Texans in the third round of the 2009 draft out of Alabama where he earned All-American honors. Heading into that draft, Caldwell was regarded as the third-best center in the class behind Eric Wood and Alex Mack.

Caldwell has played in 39 games for the Texans during his four seasons in the league and started 19 of them. He is versatile as he can play guard in addition to center and right guard is where he has played mostly since being drafted.

Caldwell is accustomed to the zone blocking scheme, as that is what was predominantly run during his time with the Texans. New offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. is expected to use more zone blocking in 2013, which requires linemen to be more athletic.

If indeed Caldwell were to be signed, it would severely lessen the chance that the Steelers would draft an interior lineman in the first few rounds of the draft.

  • steeltown

    This possible signing really makes sense (if he’s cheap) we need quality depth with experience

  • kev4heels

    Great player at Alabama and very bright.
    Could man LG and spot duty for Pouncey if injured.

  • TsarPepe

    Finally, an off-season deal that makes sense!

  • I hope his back has healed.

  • Rubem Dornas

    He does the same job as Legursky, but much better. It could be a sign that Legursky will not come back.

  • RW

    Would welcome this signing with open arms.

  • Us Them

    Don’t let him leave without a deal!!!!!

  • Brendon Glad

    Did I miss something or was Max Starks not the best he’s ever been last year? I sincerely thought he’d be an alternate for the Pro-bowl. But he wasn’t, so I guess I DID miss something. Seemed like a no-brainer to re-sign him.
    I saw enough of Gilbert last year to almost tear ligaments in my knee jumping off of his bandwagon. Thankfully that didn’t happen or he could have been responsible for damaging 5 legs last year instead of 4 by getting blown up and put on his back over and over again… Johnson’s, DeCastro’s, Pouncey’s, and his own were more than enough.

  • Brendon Glad

    On the plus side though…when Adams moved to RT and replaced Gilbert, that was the best the Steelers offense looked in 2012. And when Gilbert played LT he actually looked much better than at RT. So if Gilbert is LT, and Adams is RT, I’ll give it some time b4 I complain much. But I still don’t understand why Starks isn’t signed unless he is being adamant about “starting LT money”.

  • Brendon Glad

    As far as Caldwell goes, I’m for it. Legursky was an undrafted FA, so anything with him was gravy. However, I couldn’t help but be disappointed in him from the standpoint of “what his coaches said about him…vs his performance in actual games”

  • I like Max too but I think the knock on him is his run blocking, particularly in a zone scheme. I hate to speculate but I think he and Coach T have never seen eye to eye either. I would still like to have him for at least depth though.

  • CW

    You didn’t miss anything. The problem is that Starks wants a starting contract with multiple years and something like full time starting money. Which is more than the Steelers can afford at this time. The longer he is out on the market the better chance the Steelers sign him back onto the team at a price they can afford.

  • David Edward

    Would be a good pick-up. Essentially he’d at least be an upgrade over Legursky at backup C/G and possibly a starter candidate at LG.
    I still think they need to look at a vet LT for insurance for Gilbert. That could simply be Starks again, or another vet on the cheap. I don’t think they’ll draft one unless Lane Johnson would fall to them

  • Too bad hes not quality…. he was a sorry back up on the Texan’s and was outplayed by the texans two rookie lineman last year. Your getting a practice squad reject. His back was healed around mid season and Kubiak left him on the practice squad for a reason. Good luck!

  • steeltown

    I think the Steelers are letting him truly test the market, knowing that he wants to be a starter and that there’s a good chance he would not start in 2013 for us, but if he’s still out there in a month, I bet they’ll give him a call… then its up to him to accept

    Personally I would love Starks back on roster

  • mokhkw

    Refresh my memory someone – didn’t the Steelers have him in for a visit 1 or 2 years ago?