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Steelers Roster: Decisions being made at tight end

David Johnson returning from the PUP list gives the Steelers a little breathing room at the tight end position, but tough decisions regarding Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth will still have to be made.

Jared Wickerham

David Johnson has begun practicing. This is probably the reason why the Steelers didn't go after a veteran tight end.

So the Steelers are only needing to make injury-based roster decisions on two tight ends - Matt Spaeth and Heath Miller.

Miller can be placed on the regular season PUP list. Spaeth cannot - if a player practiced at any point during training camp, he cannot be placed on the PUP list. One of them could be placed on injured reserve with a designation to return, putting him out through Week 8 of the regular season.

Or both can be kept on the 53-man roster, and activated whenever they are ready. Doing so would mean the Steelers are ok fielding a team of 51 players who are eligible to play. That cuts into a team's depth, so it seems logical at least one of them will be placed on IR-Designation or Miller will go on the regular season PUP. This gives the Steelers a free roster spot.

The injury to Le'Veon Bell is said to be similar to that of Spaeth's, but not as severe. The Steelers have depth at running back, and although it seemed likely heading into the 2013 season either Jonathan Dwyer or Isaac Redman would be released - they were both given $1.3 million restricted free agency tenders making it a very high price to pay two running backs, especially when the team just drafted one in the second round - it seems more likely now the Steelers will have to bite the financial bullet and keep Redman and Dwyer, and not designate Bell to return from the IR.

The options aren't good however the apple gets sliced - they're either carrying an extra running back or an extra tight end. But at the very least, David Johnson had, at one point in his career, been a better inline blocker than David Paulson, the team's top tight end in the absence of Miller and Spaeth.

It's a step in the right direction in terms of the team's blocking. But there's still other decisions to be made.

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