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Ryan Harris' retirement brings Steelers' O-line depth into focus

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers now have a clear-cut depth chart at offensive line after the retirement of swing tackle Ryan Harris, who signed a two-year deal with Pittsburgh last offseason.

Harris, a former Super Bowl winner with Denver who was well regarded in the Steelers locker room, told me he's happy in his life right now and wants to pursue the joy he's worked hard to obtain. He walks away after nine seasons in the NFL.

Perhaps the Steelers would have offered tackle Chris Hubbard an original round restricted tender, which they did this week, even if Harris remained with the team. But the move seems especially prudent now. Hubbard, a restricted free agent, has the option to play on a $1.8 million tender. He can negotiate with other teams, but the Steelers can match any offer.

So the Steelers basically are on the hook for that money for Hubbard, but Harris' departure saves them around $1.4 million in cap space, so the deal essentially is a wash.

That leaves the Steelers with these primary reserve options on the O-line:

Tackle -- Jerald Hawkins, Chris Hubbard, Brian Mihalik

Guard -- B.J. Finney, Cole Manhart

Unless free agent Cody Wallace re-signs, the Steelers could stand to add more interior line depth. Manhart hardly is a lock to make the roster. But Finney has acquitted himself well and can play guard or center, and Hawkins/Hubbard is a nice tackle dynamic behind starters Alejandro Villanueva and Marcus Gilbert.