It’s long been speculated that the Pittsburgh Steelers might release safety J.J. Wilcox ahead of the start of the new league year in March but a Thursday report indicates that might not ultimately happen.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, the Steelers have expressed interest in retaining Wilcox for the 2018 season and possibly with a reworked contract.
Wilcox, who the Steelers acquired last September via a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is scheduled to earn a base salary of $3.125 million in 2018. That number is obviously too high being as he is not guaranteed to be a starter in 2018. In fact, Wilcox only played 134 total defensive snaps last season and many of those came during the first quarter of the schedule.
As for his special teams play last season, Wilcox played 73 snaps and committed four penalties. He was ultimately made inactive late in the season for a few games presumably because of that.
Unless the Steelers can convince Wilcox to take the minimum in 2018, it might be better to just release him. The start of the new league year is now less than two weeks away so we should find out very soon if Wilcox will remain with the team the remainder of the offseason.
Steelers recently expressed interest to J.J. Wilcox about returning in 2018, per source. Team must make decisions at safety b/c of large cap # for Mike Mitchell ($5 M)/Wilcox ($3.125 M), and though nothing finalized, Wilcox a candidate to return, possibly under reworked figure
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 1, 2018