In one day, the Pittsburgh Steelers, along with the rest of the NFL, had to make some extremely difficult decisions when it came to trimming their roster. Unlike the past when teams could trim their roster from 90 to 75, and then 75 to 53, the team had to once again cut down from 90 to 53 in one fell swoop.
In other words, a lot of players got some bad news Saturday.
As for the Steelers, it is worth looking at some surprises, and some disappointments, when it comes to the team’s decisions which were made to get the roster number to 53.
Just for clarification, a surprise would be someone who wasn’t necessarily expected to make the roster, or a surprise release, while a disappointment would be someone who had a legitimate shot at making the roster, but for whatever reason didn’t.
Here we go...
There was no bigger surprise than Landry Jones being released. I am still stunned, to be honest, but Jones’ release saves salary cap space and puts a ton of pressure now on Joshua Dobbs and/or Mason Rudolph as the primary backups behind Ben Roethlisberger. So much for Roethlisberger’s “I trust Landry” comments.
The rookie safety didn’t play much this preseason, but must have made enough plays, not counting taking out his teammate Malik Golden, to make the team. Was surprised he made the team and they didn’t just try to re-sign him to the practice squad.
The second year cornerback made the 53-man roster as a rookie, but with the logjam at cornerback and safety he was a surprise cut from the roster. Allen, who had his moments in the preseason, showed the size and speed coveted at the cornerback position. Nonetheless, for now it is the end of the road for Allen.
Ridley, when healthy, had a very good training camp. He runs hard, and has the experience the team needs if Le’Veon Bell chooses to not show up right away, or if Bell were to go down with an injury. He and James Conner would make one heck of a punishing 1-2 punch at the running back position if needed.
The giant offensive tackle was a cast off, and mid-camp addition, for the black-and-gold and he turned in a need at offensive tackle in to a spot on the 53-man roster. Kudos to him...he should send a thank you card to Jerald Hawkins.
The hype was serious surrounding Adams entering his second year. After landing on IR his rookie season, Adams was unable to beat out Ola Adeniyi for the fourth, and final, outside linebacker spot on the roster. I am surprised the team only kept four, and Adams is now out of a job. Look for him to go to the practice squad if not poached by another team.
The free agent acquisition was supposed to make the team for his special teams play, but apparently it wasn’t enough. Marcus Allen, a rookie who was often injured throughout camp, made the roster ahead of him. Not a glowing endorsement for “the missile”.
Editor’s Note: It should be noted the Steelers are expected to re-sign Berhe:
Steelers cut former Giants safety Nat Berhe, but I'm told it's expected that he re-signs with Pittsburgh tomorrow.— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) September 1, 2018
Since Berhe is vested veteran, Pittsburgh front office doing some maneuvering to get another player on initial 53 prior to putting him on IR with return designation
Most of us, including myself, just assumed Fitzgerald Toussaint’s spot on the team was safe. However, in retrospect I should have seen the writing on the wall when the team signed Ryan Switzer. With Switzer on the roster, Toussaint would not be used on special teams and simply not necessary whenever Le’Veon Bell returns.