clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Finding room for the Steelers wide receivers isn’t an easy task

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a tough task ahead of them with Calvin Austin III eventually coming off IR.

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team undergoing a massive amount of transition heading into Week 5. Of course, everyone is pointing to the change from Mitch Trubisky to Kenny Pickett as the primary source of change, but there is plenty of other change going on, or will be happening shortly.

The first change is something which was reported Wednesday, and that is the news of Steven Sims taking over return duties for Gunner Olszewski. Sims has been inactive on game day the previous four games, and this change will just likely swap the two players on the active/inactive list.

However, when the Steelers also announced Wednesday they were starting rookie Calvin Austin III’s 21-day window to come off Injured Reserve (IR), this made things much more challenging as it pertains to who would, or wouldn’t, have a roster spot if/when Austin is activated off IR.

Below is a current list of wide receivers who are on the team’s 53-man active roster:

  • Diontae Johnson
  • Chase Claypool
  • George Pickens
  • Myles Boykin
  • Gunner Olszewski
  • Steven Sims

When you consider the return of Austin, finding a spot for him on the 53-man roster isn’t necessarily a slam dunk.

If Sims plays Sunday vs. the Buffalo Bills, and plays well, he could very well find himself on the active roster for the foreseeable future. Would the Steelers cut Olszewski to make room for Austin? Some would suggest this would be the easiest route to get Austin on the roster, but the team could also take a wait-and-see approach to how Sims plays Sunday in Buffalo.

One aspect of this scenario is if Austin is comfortable, and has potential, as a return man this season. If Austin can prove he can confidently handle return duties, it would make the decision much easier. But if the coaching staff isn’t confident in Austin’s abilities in the return game, the numbers game begins as to how they create a spot on the roster for him.

Keeping seven wide receivers seems unlikely, and the Steelers might have to go to another position group if they want to keep all their receivers on the active roster. No matter how you slice it, finding a spot, barring an unforeseen injury, for Austin won’t be easy.

So, with that in mind, I ask you how you would find a spot for Austin? Also, do you take a wait-and-see approach with Austin, knowing you have 21 days to make the ultimate decision? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they prepare for Buffalo this Sunday in Week 5.