OK, now don't get all in a tizzy and start a WAVE before reading through. I know how most folks on this site just love to back their Steelers to the bitter end, even when they are ready to be put out to pasture, and I think that quality is awesome and helps promote a great atmosphere in Pittsburgh that keeps a few players here for a a little less $. Congrats Steeler Nation, 12th man award year after year, no contest. Now, on to Leftwich
If I'm not mistaken, Leftwich is in the final year of his contract. If I am mistaken this entire article is moot and we should start the wave. The Steelers have 3 choices: Keep him on the 53 and cut another player who could help the team (maybe a QB, maybe not), put him on IR and send him into free agency with full game checks, or cut him and reach an injury settlement, probably close to his full 2011 salary.
Batch and Dixon have both won games for the Steelers, keeping a guy who can't play for months and would be rusty after that and losing a viable player just seems wrong on many levels. Hell, as a backup QB, Leftwich may never get the chance to shake off the rust. With BB's style of play and DD and Batch's injury history it would be insane to go with two QBs. So, keeping Leftwich inactive for months would result in cutting an extra player and trying to sneak him onto practice squad.
Going the IR route guarantees the Steelers or anyone else won't be able to utilize Leftwich's services this year. About the only thing the Steelers gain out of that is eliminating the slim, slim chance Leftwich signs somewhere else in November and actually beats the Steelers in a meaningful game.
On to choice 3. Cut him. Of course the Steelers would need to reach an injury settlement, maybe pay him just $100-$200k less than his full contract. This would make him a free agent and free to sign anywhere. Of course, no one will sign him before he's heatlhy. Come November, when BB is battling head, foot, hand, nose, ankle, brain and whatever else injuries, the Steelers may choose to re-sign Byron to a relatively cheap contract if their #2 is looking good.
Dollars and Sense (Oh crap, I think I stole that off the TV, gonna have to pay royalties to someone???): This transaction makes perfect sense. The Steelers save a bit of coin now but will pay that plus a little more IF Byron is healthy enough to sign. The true advantage is basically having a 54th player on the roster. I'm no capologist, actually most of what I know I've learned from this site, but I'm guessing Byron's contract comes off the books but the injury settlement stays on...and the 'dead money' probably doesn't count as one of your top 51 so another rooks salary gets added in...a net cap cost of $150k or so right now. Pretty cheap for a fourth QB.