The NFL 90-man offseason roster is fluid. Every year players come and go as teams do the best they can to keep the depth on their team to the point where they don't need to tax the players who are locks to make the 53-man active roster.
With that said, the Steelers have made their first move of training camp by swapping players on the 90-man offseason roster. The Steelers announced Monday they have signed wide receiver Javon McKinley, and to make room for him they released undrafted rookie Tyree Johnson.
Undrafted out of Notre Dame, McKinley signed with the Detroit Lions following the 2021 NFL Draft. After failing to make the 53-man roster following the preseason, McKinley was signed to the practice squad to start the season. Not appearing in any games in 2021, McKinley was on and off the Lions practice squad throughout the season before signing a Reserve/Futures contract in January. McKinley was waived by the Lions earlier this offseason following the 2022 NFL Draft.
During the 2021 preseason, McKinley appeared in three games where he was targeted three times with three receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown. McKinley‘s touchdown came against the Steelers in Week 2 of the preseason last year where he had only one reception for 10 yards.
The signing of McKinley is to help bolster the wide receiver position with Diontae Johnson not participating in team drills and Chase Claypool nursing a shoulder injury. Mike Tomlin said Claypool's injury isn't deemed to be serious, but it is probably an injury which the team will be patient and allow their young receiver to heal before returning to practice.
In the meantime, McKinley should get plenty of opportunities to show he deserves a spot on the Steelers' roster both during training camp and the team's 3-game preseason. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of camp.