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Predicting the Steelers’ inactive list for Week 6 vs. the Seahawks

Once again, a roster move on Saturday afternoon could change everything.

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are as healthy as can be expected heading into Sunday night’s matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. With the exception of Carlos Davis who will miss his fifth-straight game, all other players not available are because they are either on the Reserve/Injured List, or about to be placed there. Otherwise, no players carry an injury status this week. With the possibility of bringing Zach Banner or Anthony McFarland off of the Reserve/Injured List, there is still the question of when JuJu Smith-Schuster will be placed on IR. These questions make the inactive list for Week 6 mostly certain until the roster changes.

The rules in the 2021 season when it comes to the players active on game day have been carried over from last season. As long as a team has eight offensive lineman who will be dressing for the game, they could have 48 players on their active roster rather than the 46 in previous seasons. If the Steelers elevate any players from their practice squad, their inactive list would increase by the same number of players. Until the Steelers announce an elevation, we will assume it is only five players but will also add more choices in case a player is called up.

Game Status

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (shoulder)
DT Carlos Davis (knee)

Here are the possibilities to end up inactive for the Steelers against the Seahawks on Sunday night:


WR JuJu Smith-Schuster- The only question which remains is if Smith-Schuster will still be on the roster for Sunday. Knowing that he had a season-ending surgery this week, the only reason JuJu wasn’t already placed on IR is probably because the Steelers weren’t sure exactly who, or what position, they wanted on the roster in his place. With no other key injuries, anyone else may simply be inactive and the Steelers may just wait another week.

DT Carlos Davis- Different week, same story. At least Davis practiced in a limited capacity every day this week. Perhaps he’s the guy who would have been inactive anyway if all the defensive tackles were available.

Most Likely:

QB Dwayne Haskins- Unless something crazy happens before the game, Haskins will once again be on the sidelines in street clothes.

LB Buddy Johnson- There are just too many inside linebackers on this team to dress them all unless injuries make it otherwise. Therefore, Johnson is out yet again.

CB Ahkello Witherspoon- Especially since missing a day for a coaches decision, does anyone think Witherspoon is going to crack the lineup in place of one of the other cornerbacks? I don’t think it’s going to happen yet, if at all.


OT Joe Haeg- I have to list Haeg here in case Zach Banner is added to the active roster this week. If so, there has got to be another tackle on the list and Haeg is the one who’s not starting.

RB Kalen Ballage- Basically take everything said about Joe Haeg and apply it to Ballage if Anthony McFarland is the player added to the roster. If both Canner and McFarland are added, Bellage may not even be on the roster.


A New Roster Addition- I don’t understand why the Steelers would bother to make a move, even if it was to put JuJu Smith-Schuster on IR, and then have that player inactive. They’re better off waiting to the bye week if whoever is added doesn’t get a helmet.

Projected Inactive List:

  1. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  2. Carlos Davis
  3. Dwayne Haskins
  4. Buddy Johnson
  5. Ahkello Witherspoon

This is pretty straightforward if the Steelers don’t make a roster move. The only thing that would make things change is if Smith-Schuster goes to IR and another player is added to the roster. We assume it would be Zach Banner or Anthony McFarland, but it could be somebody else. If it is Banner, I believe Joe Haeg goes on the inactive list. If it is McFarland, then I believe it’s Kalen Ballage on the list. If it’s both players, I believe Haeg would be inactive and Ballage would be released. If it’s an entirely different player, then it all depends on what position they play. If it’s nobody, I think you’re looking at the list above as the likely players.

As always, feel free to list your projected inactives in the comments below.