Steelers give Hartwig permission to seek a trade

With rookie Maurkice Pouncey bouncing former starting center Justin Hartwig to the bench, the Steelers are going to try to do with Hartwig what they did with Sean Mahan after Hartwig supplanted Mahan as the starting center.

Per a league source, Hartwig has received permission to seek a trade.  If Hartwig can’t arrange a trade, he’ll reportedly be cut.

So why would a team want to trade for Hartwig when he’s going to be cut?  At a base salary of $2.08 million for 2010, a team may want to trade for the contract in lieu of having to try to bid against other team(s) for his services on the open market.

The Steelers entered training camp expecting Hartwig to start at center and Pouncey to start at guard.  But Pouncey blew away the coaches from the first day, and eventually Pouncey took over the top spot on the depth chart.

We assume it’s also possible that the Steelers would be interested in bringing Hartwig back after Week One at a reduced salary.