The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a tough spot after their Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. What is difficult about a 1-0 start? How about the potential loss of the reigning 2021 Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt?
Whether Watt is lost for the season, or just a part of the 2022 campaign, it seems highly likely the Steelers will be placing Watt on Injured Reserve (IR) in the coming days. With Watt likely to head to IR, it would free up a roster spot. A roster spot which would almost assuredly be filled by another pass rusher.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Steelers hosted former Washington Commanders pass rusher Ryan Anderson for a workout Tuesday.
A second-round pick by Washington in 2017 out of Alabama, Ryan Andersen spent four years in Washington where he appeared in 52 games with only four starts. Anderson had 86 tackles and 6.0 sacks along with 15 quarterback hits, one pass defensed, five forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries through the 2020 NFL season. In 2021, Anderson signed a one-year contract with the New York Giants. At the very end of the preseason, Anderson was suspended for the first six games of 2021 for violating the NFL‘s policy on performance enhancing substances. Anderson was released several days later when the Giants cut their roster down to 53 players and did not play in the NFL last season.
With Watt off the depth chart, the team’s trio of pass rushers would be as follows:
- Alex Highsmith
- Malik Reed
- Jamir Jones
The addition of a player like Anderson would certainly soften the blow of the loss of Watt, but there is no one currently available on the open market who can provide even half of the production Watt does on a week-in and week-out basis.
Mike Tomlin will address the media Tuesday for his weekly press conference, and will certainly have more to say surrounding Watt’s status and the team’s plans moving forward. Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they prepare for the New England Patriots in Week 2 of the regular season.
It is now being reported the Steelers are expected to sign Anderson to their practice squad. This could mean the team will be promoting someone to fill Watt’s spot on the active roster once he is placed on IR.