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Report: Steelers Sign Former Titans C/G Fernando Velasco On Monday


Well, there you go. While writing about Pittsburgh Steelers center Cody Wallace, the team addressed their needs at center by signing former Tennessee Titans center/guard Fernando Velasco to a one-year deal.

Velasco, who was originally signed by the Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2008, played his college football at Georgia. In 2012 he started all 16 games for the first time in his career.  He made 13 starts at center and three starts at left guard.

The Titans cut ties with Velasco during their final round of cuts because he had lost his job to former St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Rob Turner.

This move looks good on paper and Wallace must not be the "known commodity" that Tomlin claimed he was just a week ago.

With Maurkice Pouncey now out for the season with a knee injury, the Steelers knew that neither Wallace nor Kelvin Beachum were the long-term answers at center.

Velasco now has a week to prepare for the Cincinnati Bengals, a team he faced just a few weeks ago during the preseason.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Matt Manzo

    Waiting for the comments about how we just signed a lesser teams castoff to start for us!

  • Dale

    Yesterday’s result strongly argues that they aren’t a lesser team. I’m not sure who is a lesser team at this point.

  • http://www.amazon.com/The-Sibyl-Reborn-ebook/dp/B009KNQHSM James P. Kelly

    Just think if we had Pouncey back at center with Velasco as Pouncey’s back up and an adept rookie like Barrett Jones developing his craft:~) AND Kevin Beachum all prepped to back-up the guards and tackles through having played those positions exclusively throughout camp and preseason. Life would look so much rosier! The good news is we’re in first place and Velasco didn’t play this weekend, so he isn’t on season-ending IR. The bad news is the play-offs are fifteen games away.

  • Mkeller

    The Steelers are the lesser team unfortunately. Velasco is already their 2nd best O-lineman behind DeCastro and I’m giving DeCastro the benefit of the doubt. He looked terrible yesterday.

  • Joel McCullough

    I think the more appropriate question is why did we sign Wallace when he’s not a “known commodity” like Tomlin said he was. Another sign of the mis-management and overall ineptitude of Tomlin and this FO.

  • steeltown

    I do like the fact that he started 16games last year, but its a head scatcher regarding Wallace…maybe he hasn’t looked good in practice, which would explain why he wasn’t even activated on Sunday

  • Christopher Wilkes

    This seems like a better signing then bringing in Wallace. He was a favorite of Titans fans, and many were upset he was among the final cuts, but the Titans added a ton of talent to their interior O-line this offseason, so I think we’re very lucky to get this guy. He will start the next 15 games for us. I gotta say I’m pretty happy with this.

  • Bilgewater D

    Not sure why they just didn’t sign Velasco before they signed Wallace. Velasco was Pro Football Focus’s 11th rated center last year.

  • Pete

    DeCastro had a lot of trouble with Casey but I’m trying to be patient and give the O line some time to develop some kind of chemistry. Yesterday was a real test of patience. I hope Velasco proves to be a solid pick up.

  • Matt Manzo

    Do u think this means Wallace will just be a c/g backup or will we release him and either go after someone else or bring back Maleki?

  • joed32

    Velasco got cut right after Wallace was signed.

  • T R

    I would say at least he played against some good defense last year with tennese but seems he only played again Houston and Chicago.. all other teams where not so good. But he played 16 games. Well untill he comes to pittsburgh under our OL line curse… UGH…

  • T R

    touche

  • Christopher Wilkes

    I would think that Wallace was brought in to be a backup, and maybe Velasco is seen as a stater and would be paid appropriately on that scale.

  • Bilgewater D

    That would explain it

  • Bilgewater D

    Wallace will stay

  • steeltown

    I personally think this move means they’ll release Wallace, but then again, with the way injuries occur on this Team they should keep him for the time being

  • Bilgewater D

    PFF didn’t rate him all that differently than Pouncey. Of course, they hate Pouncey.

    Also, I guess the Steelers weren’t a good D?

  • Soliciting Steelers

    Wallace will stay in backup roll per original plan…Valaesco will start he has the “pedigree” LOL

  • steeltown

    Hopefully this week Tomlin activates Wallace to backup Velasco so as to let Beachum use his talents elsewhere… meaning put Whimper on the inactive list

  • Christopher Wilkes

    Nope. Both Wallace and Velasco were cut on the same day to get their respective teams to the 53 man limit.

  • T R

    you caught that huh> LOL

  • Christopher Wilkes

    I think Wallace will stay. They already picked him over Malecki to be the backup center, so nothing has changed in that respect.

  • steeltown

    Casey is no slouch

  • Craig Ressler

    Good signing. According to Pro Football Focus Velasco is coming off the 2012 season where he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 11 center. Cerntainly better then what we currently have on the roster.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Velasco’s real-time game experience alone makes him a serious upgrade. And it could be that the Titans had quality depth to spare in the O-line department the same way Pittsburgh had it to spare in the LB department. Not going to say I feel great given the losses this team suffered yesterday, but I feel better for now at least. Stop the bleeding.

  • JT

    They need to make a really game changing move. Aquire a feature back like Duece Staley. Maybe start winning without inherited guys from a previous regime like Rod Woodson, Carnell Lake, Ernie Mills, and Dermontii Dawson.

  • T R

    that will teach wallace verstality like beachum

  • Phil Heidenreich

    Now, of course I know the answer to this question in reality, but since it’s likely a few guys are going on IR, does that free up any space in regards to signing an extension with either Cortez Allen or Sanders? Not sure how the cap space works out, if the Steelers FO were to want to do something unheard of..

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I don’t think the “known commodity” statement is wrong. I think what that meant was we thought we could trust him in relief or potentially in a game or 2. It did not mean they wanted to play 15 games with him as their starting center.

  • Arthur Branch

    It all comes down to salary cap Velasco is going to be making a lot more money than Wallace. Salary Cap room is something we do not have a lot of.

  • steeltown

    Yep, like Malecki and Legursky before him, I think/hope that Wallace can backup all 3 interior positions

  • Arthur Branch

    Bingo.

  • steeltown

    Indeed

  • Mkeller

    Players on IR still count against the cap. Even Plaxico counts against the cap. There is no relief in sight in terms of the cap.

  • Arthur Branch

    Wallace is a serviceable center but you do not want him playing guard.

  • Phil Heidenreich

    Thanks for the clarity and bad news.

  • steeltown

    They almost never have any contract talks or offer any extensions once the season starts, plus those IR players still count against the cap

  • steeltown

    It seems we don’t want him playing Center either, but regardless he should be given some snaps at OG in practice in case of emergency

  • Dale

    How much position flexibility does Wallace have? I could understand not activating him if he was seen as only a center, on the the theory that it’s not worth carrying someone who’s a backup center and nothing else when Beachum could play center for the rest of one game if needed. Of course, they wouldn’t have been expecting to have Pouncey leave the game so early. But of Wallace wasn’t cutting it, why didn’t they sign Velasco earlier?

    I miss Legursky.

  • steeltown

    Supposedly he has some capability at OG, says Tomlin, probably meaning very little..but hope he could play OG in an emergency

  • StrengthOfVictory

    At 6’4, 304 pounds, Velasco is basically the same size as Pouncey. Let’s hope he can bring similar aggression.

    (He may also be the same size as Dwyer! [duh-dum-ch!] )

  • Berlusconi

    Looks like a good acquisition. But as long as the rest of the O-Line and the RBs aren’t getting it together, you can have Mike Pouncey or Beachum play center and it makes no difference between winning and losing.

  • Berlusconi

    Im excited to see if they will extend Pouncey next offseason even if he is not ready to go by the start of next season

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Loosing…their chains? Loosing the ties that bind?

  • T R

    well lets wait a few more games to see if sanders can actually catch balls thrown to him.. sheesh

  • Josh Knepshield

    I wonder if maybe they will resign him after the season if he plays well. He has played well at guard before and would be a serious upgrade on Ramon “Ragdoll” Foster. Pouncey, velasco, and DeCastro would be a solid threesome on the inside

  • Berlusconi

    LOL, yeah, embarrasing

  • T R

    Some times a long lasting nagging stink is more disrupted then straight out bleeding..

  • steeltown

    Interesting thought

  • SteelersDepot
  • steeltown

    Thanks!

  • Ken

    This has to be considered a little bit of good news. a smidget.
    Is there any chance Jason Worilds could be moved to the inside linebacker spot and leave Jones and Woodley on the outside? Jason just seems built more for the middle anyway.

  • walter mason

    lets play musical chairs

  • NW86

    The guy was cut and spent week 1 on the street. I doubt he will be paid much more than the vet minimum, especially since the Steelers only have about $2M to work with and still need to sign 2 more players to compensate for the other 2 they just put on IR.

  • Mike Sweeney

    Good signing, nevertheless. It appears Suisham has a leg issue suffered in pregame. I knew something was wrong when he pushed the extra point thru. If Moye, loses his roster spot, I will not be a happy camper with Tball. I think the Moye has something special rook or not. Must be the hands and hustle, I like! Velasco or Beachum? I’ll take Velasco right now since he’s “seasoned”. While Kelvim would be a better used as tight end, right about now.

  • NW86

    Right, this actually takes away cap room. Now you have to pay the guy on IR AND the guy who replaces him. This is why you have to enter the season with at least a couple million to spare – though it looks like they will have to use up all their remaining cap space in week 1!

  • r4kolb

    From what I hear of this guy they may have lucked out picking him up. If you look at the 3 we lost for the season in my opinion Pouncey was the only one that really hurt. Foote was a non factor and really how much of a drop off, other then experience, do we loose without him. LaRod? Felix Jones may be able to fill his roll at RB. With the way our line is blocking even the Bus would struggle running the ball. So if you sit back and look at it not to bad a drop off from where we were last week. Of course last week we went barreling over a cliff so I’d expect the same Monday Night and the rest of the year. If the O-Line can some how get it together and when Heath and Bell return…..who knows? Anyone hear any updates about Cortez Allens ankle?

  • joed32

    What time was it, I know they grabbed Wallace as soon as they saw he was available. It also could be that they wanted Velasco but didn’t want to pay his salary which would have been guaranteed if he was on the roster for week one. Whatever the case we’re lucky to get him with Pouncey going down.

  • joed32

    They may have not activated him because he wasn’t ready to call the plays yet. He was only here a week and hadn’t had a lot of playing time in his short career. Velasco should be able to pick things up more quickly with his experience as a starter.

  • Nolrog

    Lesser team or not, we still needed a center.

  • Shea Fahr

    Beachum is moving to RB this week.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Guys… this is probably, the best free agent we could have acquired, really. Velaso was released due to contract dispute (not a dispute, more of… similar to dwyer/redman situation, youhad to let one go) and they kept Rob Turner. Also was a different fit for Titans’ new power scheme. I love the signing, know why? He CAN start over Ramon Foster, he is that better of a guard. Believe me, be happy Steelers finally made a move that actually makes sense!

  • 2443scott

    DeCastro must be dieing inside ..all he did was what every line man does every game cut guys at legs this time he just caught his own team mate …..we cant use beachum at center we need him else where so we need to get us a center to release him to be else where …everyone whos released isnt always released because they arent any good are different reasons people are released …

  • Gautama Om

    I would have rather have them pick another OL in the top 3 rounds. They also need to get rid of Lebeau’s 3-4 system. It’s not as effective as it used to be since the League is familiar with it now. Furthermore it looks like we don’t have the fine personnel manning this zone blitz system as we used to. Lastly, the complexity of the 3-4 system is not just wasting away a lot of play time for drafted players (thus wasting productive years for the franchise) BUT it also increases the odds of “bust” potential because of the huge learning curve.

    It was useful when it was new but it’s drawbacks (i.e.complexity) is holding us back especially for a franchise that builds through the draft.

  • JPDQ

    Hmmm… Pouncey’s injury probably concerns me the least out of Cortez, Foote and L-Rod. In my opinion, Pouncey is injured way too much and simply overrated by the majority of the fans and the media.

    Maybe Velasco comes in, plays well, stays healthy and we look to cut ties w/ the Hernandez Sympathizer and free up some cash or draft picks by trading him. Wouldn’t bother me at all.

  • joed32

    Best center available. Who would you have liked to see them sign instead?

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