The Pittsburgh Steelers have officially announced the trade with the Seattle Seahawks for cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. The Steelers will be surrendering their 2023 fifth-round draft pick pending a passed physical.
We have acquired CB Ahkello Witherspoon from the Seattle Seahawks for our 2023 fifth-round pick, pending a physical.— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 3, 2021
To make room on the 53-man roster, we released DL Henry Mondeaux.@BordasLaw | : https://t.co/II1kc5Rvwk pic.twitter.com/YHUmf3tLyt
The report of the impending trade by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport came mid day on Friday as the Steelers are in the second day of their four days off before returning for preparation for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.
Although the Steelers are only surrendering a 2023 fifth-round draft pick to the Seattle Seahawks, they are also giving up on a projected 2022 fifth-round compensatory draft pick according to Nick Korte from overthecap.com.
By acquiring via trade Ahkello Witherspoon, a compensatory free agent signed by the Seahawks, the Steelers will cancel out a 5th round 2022 compensatory pick for the departure of Matt Feiler--in addition to whatever they give up to Seattle in direct compensation. https://t.co/z82gF9QU6R— Nick Korte (@nickkorte) September 3, 2021
When a compensatory free agent is traded, the team acquiring the player takes on where they stand in the compensatory formula and the appropriate cancellation. The Steelers had been projected to have two compensatory draft picks as they had lost three players (Bud Dupree, Matt Feiler, and Mike Hilton) while only gaining one (Joe Haeg). Now with Witherspoon also in the mix, The Steelers are only projected to have a third-round compensatory draft pick due to the loss of Bud Dupree.
This is described in the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement in Appendix V, section 3a:
If a Club trades for a player who was a CFA during that League Year, whether the player was another Club’s CFA or the acquiring Club’s own CFA, the player will be considered a CFA gained by the acquiring Club and will be included in the Compensatory netting process described above.
As for salary, there has not been any report of the Steelers taking on any of Witherspoon’s $2.5 million signing bonus he received from the Seahawks this spring. If this is the case, Witherspoon is only set to cost $1.5 million against the 2021 salary cap.
The other item of business is the Steelers making room on the 53-man roster for Witherspoon. The Steelers announced they released defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux. During the 2021 preseason, Mondeaux had the Steelers second-highest PFF grade (83.1) of all their defensive players. Mondeaux will be placed on waivers for 24 hours and if unclaimed, can be signed by any NFL franchise including the Steelers. The Steelers do currently have one open spot on the practice squad if Mondeaux clears waivers and signs with the team.
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