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Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Steelers agree to contract with ex-Panthers center Hartwig

By John Clayton
ESPN.com

With their offensive line in transition with the departure of Alan Faneca, the Pittsburgh Steelers found a new anchor to their line by reaching a two-year, $4 million deal with former Carolina Panthers center Justin Hartwig.

Justin Hartwig

Hartwig

Included in the deal is a $975,000 signing bonus.

Hartwig was released by the Panthers a week ago in order to give Ryan Kalil the chance to start at center. The Panthers considered moving him to guard but decided it was better to part ways.

Over the past two years, the Steelers have lost a Pro Bowl guard, Faneca, to free agency and lost a former Pro Bowl center, Jeff Hartings, to retirement. Acquiring Hartwig gives the interior of the Steelers line more versatility.

With Hartwig on board, he could start at center and allow Sean Mahan to move to one of the guard spots.

The deal was negotiated by Drew Rosenhaus, who has done $440 million of contracts this offseason.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.