The Pittsburgh Steelers recently signed 15 players to their 2021 practice squad, leaving one spot open, and of those 15, five players were brought into their organization who were not on their offseason roster during training camp and the preseason. One of those players was former first round draft pick Karl Joseph.
If you remember, it was Joseph who came to Pittsburgh and visited as a free agent this offseason. He eventually signed a contract with the Las Vegas Raiders instead of the Steelers, but after his release has found his way back to the steel city.
The addition of Joseph has many speculating on the team’s plans for the former West Virginia University safety. Some see the addition as nothing more than depth, while others see Joseph as a potential answer to the team’s need at the nickel cornerback position. Almost taking over the role once occupied by Antoine Brooks Jr.
Nonetheless, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting the team is expected to elevate Joseph off the practice squad once he clears the six-day COVID-19 protocol for new players.
The Steelers expected to bring newly added S Karl Joseph off the practice squad once six-day Covid-19 protocol for new players expires. Couple that with the return of Arthur Maulet and they are up to 10 DBs. And they still might add another from the waiver wire.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) September 1, 2021
While this is tantalizing for the fan base to consider having Joseph come in and be the answer at the glaring position of need, it doesn’t come without risks. And, no, I’m not talking about Joseph’s injury history.
If the Steelers do what Dulac suggests, the team will have to make a corresponding roster decision. In other words, they currently have 53-players on the roster, and adding Joseph would mean someone would either have to be placed on Injured Reserve (IR), like Zach Banner, Anthony McFarland and Stephon Tuitt were, or to be given their outright release.
The candidates aren’t many when you look at the Steelers’ roster. Who would get the axe if Joseph is promoted immediately? Isaiah Buggs? Henry Mondeaux? B.J. Finney, again? At this stage in the game every one of the Steelers’ roster spots are extremely valuable, and while it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to see Joseph promoted immediately, it will likely mean the end, maybe just the short term end if an IR designation is handed down, for one current member of the 53-man roster.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers and their roster decisions as they prepare for the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 of the 2021 regular season.