The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Which players will the Steelers release in order to accommodate the additions of Le’Veon Bell and J.J. Wilcox?
Today is Monday, and that means teams are back in business just on the eve of the regular season, the first reporting sessions following the cut-down to a 53-man roster. except technically the Steelers have 55 players rostered at the moment, with two in limbo.
Those two players are running back Le’Veon Bell and safety J.J. Wilcox, the latter of whom the team just traded for last evening. Bell has yet to sign his franchise tender but is expected to do so today. When he does, the team will have to find a roster spot for him, bumping somebody off.
The same can be said for Wilcox, who will not count against the 53-man roster following the trade until he officially reports, which presumably will be today as well. This means that in all likelihood Pittsburgh will have to make not one, but two roster moves by the end of the day in order to accommodate these additions.
So with that out of the way, who are the players that are going to lose their seats at the table? A frontrunner for this is naturally rookie third-round cornerback Cameron Sutton, who is widely anticipated to be moved to injured reserve, with the possibility of returning in the second half of the season with a significant hamstring injury.
He could potentially be joined by another cornerback seeing his release, especially after the Steelers added another defensive back. With Wilcox, they have 12 in total. Fellow rookie Brian Allen could seriously be at risk of being waived, with the team obviously hoping he clears so he could be put on the practice squad.
Other potential candidates for this move should include offensive lineman Matt Feiler, nose tackle Daniel McCullers, and potentially even outside linebacker Arthur Moats. I would not get my hopes up that Robert Golden will be released, however.
The Steelers are bringing in a safety in part because two of them are currently banged up, with a third having spent the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery. Wilcox would be the only fully healthy safety on the roster if Golden were released so…that’s probably not going to happen tomorrow.