Steelers News

Ryan Switzer ‘Can’t Wait To Put My Best Foot Forward’ In 2020

While the bulk of the moves that Pittsburgh Steelers made yesterday were in an effort to achieve compliance with the salary cap after placing the franchise tag on Bud Dupree, one move that they made seemed more to do with the situation than with the potential savings that the transaction would create.

That would be the release of veteran wide receiver Johnny Holton, who for the most part after signing with the Steelers as a free agent in 2019 served as a special teams ace. He did play on offense, mostly the recipient of off-target deep passes, but there’s no mistaking that he was on the team to chase down punts and kicks more than anything else.

Pittsburgh releasing him only saved them a couple hundred thousand dollars in salary cap space after roster displacement. That’s not the sort of move that you bother making now unless you have other reasons for it, like giving him the earliest chance possible to catch on with another team when you know he’s not in your plans moving forward.

And so it’s significant, then, that Ryan Switzer wasn’t touched. A lot of people wanted to see him get released as well following a dismal 2019 season on the field, regardless of whether or not they understood the team would hardly reap any salary cap benefits for doing so.

Switzer caught eight passes last season. He gained 27 yards, averaging 3.4 yards per reception. That’s a really bad number for a running back’s yards per carry. It’s difficult to achieve, even with such a small sample size, for a wide receiver catching passes. Not to put too fine a point on it, but 257 players caught at least one pass of 27 yards or more in 2019. That’s more than eight players per team. That’s what Switzer gained in total on eight receptions.

On top of that, he averaged just 3.6 yards per punt return and 18.4 yards per kick return. It was a bad, ugly year. Switzer knows it. And he’s seen the people calling for his job in March, as well. He took the opportunity yesterday to express himself on Twitter.

Even before his injury, admittedly, Switzer was being phased out of the offense despite the Antonio Brown trade and Donte Moncrief proving to be a bust signing. Taking that into consideration, one might raise an eyebrow over the fact that he is still on the team.

He’s not guaranteed a job some September, a fact he well knows, but he will be in training camp ready to compete for his opportunity. He had his fans in 2018 when he was first brought in—Ben Roethlisberger continues to be among them, which is a pretty significant endorsement. He’s looking to win them back, if only because it means that he’s back where he knows he can be on the field.

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