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4 Steelers who could end up on Injured Reserve Wednesday

If the Steelers feel like a player could miss the first week of the regular season, going on the Reserve/Injured List may be the best bet.

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced all their cuts to get down to the league mandated 53-man roster by 4 PM on Tuesday. While this is the first time the Steelers are at 53 players, it is likely not the roster they will have for Week 1 in Buffalo. Between scouring the waiver wire and looking for a free agent, the other factor would be players the Steelers feel need to land on the Reserve/Injured List (IR).

Putting a player on IR is not the dreaded designation it once was, as long as the player has spent one day on the 53-man roster. All players placed on injured reserve before 4 PM on Wednesday cannot return to the teams who gave them the designation unless they had reached an injury settlement and it is three weeks beyond the final settlement date. If there was no injury settlement, the only way these players would be able to play this season would be to pass a physical and be released by the team to sign elsewhere.

If a player is on the 53-man roster but is placed on injured reserve after 4 PM Wednesday, they would be eligible to return in 21 days. Rather than being the eight weeks it used to be years ago, having IR as a much shorter term gives teams options for players who may not be ready for Week 1 of the season. If a player goes on IR on September 1, they would be eligible to return to practice to start preparation for Week 3 of the NFL season. In essence, because every team is basically starting off with a bye week due to less preseason games, players would realistically only have to miss two games.

For this reason, there are several players who are currently on the Steelers’ 53-man roster who could end up placed on IR Wednesday afternoon. I’m not saying these players will definitely be there, as the Steelers might not make any moves when it comes to injured reserve. But if the Steelers do have to go this route, these four players are the most likely candidates.

Zach Banner

I outlined Zach Banner’s situation in an article on Tuesday and how he might just need a little bit more time with his knee before he is ready to play 100% of the snaps on offense. Banner playing only 12 snaps in the preseason is not a good sign along with the fact he did not even travel with the team to Carolina to get treatment, according to head coach Mike Tomlin in his post game press conference. The Steelers have also been exercising other options of trying players at different positions on the offensive line was reported on Monday when Chuks Okorafor got some snaps at right tackle with Dan Moore Jr. filling in at left tackle. A lot of signs point to a possibility of Banner not being ready to go for Week 1, and if it is in doubt, having one more additional week to get ready to return isn’t the end of the world.

Possible Roster Replacements: B.J. Finney, Rashaad Coward, outside signing

Stephon Tuitt

Missing OTAs and minicamp due to the tragedy that struck his family, Steelers’ Nation’s hearts go out to defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt. Unable to practice throughout training camp and the preseason, we’re not sure when Tuitt will be ready to take the field. The other interesting fact is Mike Tomlin continues to lump Tuitt’s name in with other players when he talks about dealing with injury. Whether to it has a physical injury he’s working through or simply needing time as he goes through the grieving process with his family due to the tragic loss of his brother, there is a chance he will not be ready to go on September 12. With the Steelers keeping eight defensive lineman on their initial 53-man roster, this gave another indication that Tuitt may be heading to injured reserve once the time has come. Since the Steelers have already made the move of keeping the extra defensive lineman, the most likely roster replacement would come at a different position.

Possible Roster Replacements: B.J. Finney, Rashaad Coward, outside signing

Anthony McFarland Jr.

Although he hasn’t been talked about much in regards to having an injury, Anthony McFarland was the other player mentioned by name by head coach Mike Tomlin following the Carolina Panthers game as to those who were left behind to receive treatment. If McFarland isn’t ready to go for Week 1, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Steelers place him on IR and bring another running back onto the roster. Then again, McFarland could be perfectly fine and ready to go against the Bills.

Possible Roster Replacements: Trey Edmunds, outside signing

Marcus Allen

Seeing a player leave the field due to injury in the final preseason game is one of the more disheartening things in the NFL. When it’s the last of the meaningless games, they will always be questioned if the player should have even been on the field. But with linebacker Marcus Allen, he was getting some valuable reps against Carolina before suffering a leg injury. If it is the type of injury which could be nagging, it would make sense for him to move to injured reserve to start the season. Additionally, Allen is in a very similar situation as Stephon Tuitt where the Steelers were already carrying an unusually large amount of players at his position for the initial 53-man roster.

Possible Roster Replacements: Outside signing (likely a CB), Arthur Maulet (if healthy)

So those are the four players that would be most likely to land on the Reserve/Injured List should the Steelers place anyone there on Wednesday. As for the possible roster replacements, they are generally made up of players who were not required to pass through waivers and were on a minimum contract. These players are the easiest ones to release on roster cut down day with the club informing them they want to sign them the next day as a player goes on IR. Players such as B.J. Finney, Rashaad Coward, Trey Edmunds, and Arthur Maulet fit in this category as players who could return. While there are some others who also fit into the category like Cassius Marsh, it’s a little less likely that he fits what the Steelers are trying to do.

With the Steelers keeping so many defensive lineman and skimping on the offensive side, it would make sense if Stephon Tuitt goes on the IR that it would be an offensive lineman who would be added in his place. For players such as Zach Banner or Anthony McFarland, replacements would likely come at the same position. To finish off, chances are if Marcus Allen would end up on IR it would be the opportunity to add another player in the secondary.

So what do you think? Do you believe any of these four players could end up on injured reserve Wednesday afternoon? If so, what’s the corresponding roster moves the Steelers could possibly make? Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.