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Report: Explanation of how the Steelers got out of the Justin Gilbert contract

The Pittsburgh Steelers waived CB Justin Gilbert, and many thought they would have dead money owed him after the move, but that isn’t the case.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers cut ties with former first round pick Justin Gilbert Monday, and the move made a lot of fans scratch their heads. Wondering why the team released Gilbert when they did, and not give him a chance to prove himself in training camp. What exactly went wrong to cause the abrupt departure?

One topic which caused a lot of discussion on different social media platforms was debating whether the Steelers owed Gilbert any money. There were conflicting reports, but the team of Ed Bouchette and Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette pointed to a source inside the organization which stated the team owed Gilbert nothing after his release.

BTSC’s Flip Fisher reached out to Fittipaldo, and this was his response via email:

“When the trade was made the Steelers made sure they were not on the hook for any guaranteed money beyond the 2016 season. So it would appear they had the Browns pick up the remainder of any guaranteed money before the trade was consummated.”

Websites like, and other sites, showed the Steelers owing Gilbert over 2-million dollars if released, but, according to Fittipaldo, it seems the Browns were the team who paid out the remainder of Gilbert’s deal.

The Steelers will still owe the Browns a 2018 6th round draft pick, as were the terms and conditions of the trade, but this at least shines some light on just how the Steelers were able to get out from underneath the Gilbert deal without owing him a dime.