The Pittsburgh Steelers certainly made some interesting decisions with their 53-man roster yesterday, but as recent history suggests, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the team is finished assembling the roster for this season.
Last year, for example, the Steelers signed center Cody Wallace and punter Zoltan Mesko off waivers, and released John Malecki and Drew Butler, respectively, to take their place. Mesko’s signing proved to be a bad decision, but Wallace became critical at the end of the year.
Although Brad Wing made the roster this season as the punter, he was uncontested. In other words, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Steelers do sign a punter off waivers, even if they appear to be satisfied with what he showed in the final preseason game. Among those released yesterday was Butler himself.
The interior offensive line position could also be an area that the Steelers target for an upgrade again this year after adding Wallace a year ago. They chose to keep guard Chris Hubbard on the roster for now, releasing veteran Guy Whimper.
But Hubbard is certainly in no more stable a position than Malecki was a year ago. It may be worth noting that former Steeler Doug Legursky was released yesterday.
As Dave Bryan noted yesterday, the outside linebacker position is obviously a potential target for upgrade, considering they only carried three true players at the position, with Terence Garvin serving as a versatile all-positions type.
One position the Steelers likely won’t be actively searching for would be defensive back, considering that they kept 11 of them on the roster.
However, both cornerback and wide receiver could be potential targets of redundancy in order to make room for a new signing if they can hold off until Tuesday, because, depending on the severity of their injuries, either Martavis Bryant or Brice McCain could be candidates for the short-term injured reserve.
Aside from placing either player on injured reserve, it’s still possible that the numbers at either position could be cut outright, given the numbers.
Justin Brown, for example, could be sent down for another tour of duty on the practice squad if a more enticing option at another position becomes available. Even a player such as Will Allen, as much as the team loves him, could become expendable if the right person falls to them on waivers or as a veteran free agent.
But nothing would make the fan base happier than if the Steelers choose to make the third quarterback an expendable target for a waiver signing, as second-year player Landry Jones certainly hasn’t impressed many outside the organization this preseason. It’s also possible that the Steelers look toward a veteran such as Curtis Painter as a third option.
One potential surprise target for a roster upgrade would be at running back. The Steelers didn’t really entertain any serious options behind their top three on the depth chart, but there are now several veteran options on the market after the cuts yesterday; the same could be said about outside linebacker for that matter.