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: Who will the Steelers release from the 53-man roster in order to activity Le’Veon Bell from the exempt list?
I am willing to go on record and say that the Steelers WILL activated Le’Veon Bell from the exempt list prior to kickoff on Sunday against the Browns. I know that is a bold claim, but I have a high degree of confidence in that being true.
Yes, that was sarcasm, by the way.
But with the knowledge that Bell will obviously be on the 53-man roster come Sunday, the Steelers are in essence operating with a 54-man roster, and obviously that needs to change prior to the next game that they play, unless they could seriously be stupid enough to not activate Bell.
Somebody currently on the team is about to be somebody formerly on the team within the next few days, so let’s look at some candidates, in alphabetical order for ease, from last name:
Brian Allen: I don’t like this at all but it has to be considered. He will be an inactive anyway, and the team has five other cornerbacks on the roster, with another on the practice squad who can play, and yet another on injured reserve who should return midseason.
Matt Feiler: Presumably the ninth offensive lineman and another inactive, releasing him would mean losing him entirely because he doesn’t have practice squad eligibility, and they would likely have to find another lineman to add to the practice squad to take his place, but this is a fair option.
Jerald Hawkins: He was a fourth-round draft pick, but that doesn’t spare him. He had an inconsistent preseason and an even worse training camp, yet they still like him or he wouldn’t be on the roster. He could probably be safely moved to the practice squad, though you never know. Brian Mihalik got claimed.
Steven Johnson: He did not make the initial 53-man roster for two years in a row, and most expected that he would not be re-signed anyway, given that they still have to make another move. But why would they bother re-signing him only to quickly turn around and cut him again?
Daniel McCullers: While it would be a risk to carry only five defensive linemen, they very rarely dress six, and McCullers is likely to be an inactive. He does not have practice squad eligibility.
Arthur Moats: Great guy, quality reserve, but a big discrepancy between projected playing time and salary. There’s a good chance he spends most of the season as a healthy scratch.
I would be surprised if any player other than these six is the one that gets released. Who do you think is likely to be the one released, and which would you release if it were your choice?