The Pittsburgh Steelers made a couple of moves on the eve of today’s game, waiving two players and signing two others to the 53-man roster. While the headline move was the decision to waive veteran offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski shortly after he was activated from injured reserve, there is a story to be told with respect to the two players that they signed. And I’ll be talking about the one most don’t care about, not Avery Williamson
For starters, he’s not a new face at all. Linebacker Jayrone Elliott has been on the 53-man roster and contributed in games, both on special teams and at his natural position on the outside on defense, when he was on the team in 2019.
More germane to the 2020 season, however, the decision to bring him up from the practice squad now was one made out of necessity, because he had already been elevated from the practice squad to the active roster twice this season.
Beginning this year, under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams are permitted to ‘elevate’ two players from the practice squad each week as 54th and 55th members of the roster. They earn a roster-equivalent salary for that week, but they immediately revert back to the practice squad without going through waivers.
Players, however, may only be elevated in this fashion twice for the same team in one season, including the postseason. Elliott has been elevated for the past two games, logging a total of 16 special teams snaps, though he did not play on defense.
In order for him to continue to log snaps and dress for games, he had to be promoted to the 53-man roster, because he is now ineligible to be elevated again this season for the Steelers (though if he were to go to another team, they would be able to).
Elliott is not the only player who has reached his limit. In fact, Trey Edmunds, one of two players waived yesterday to make room for him and Williamson, had been elevated twice, which is why he was signed to the 53-man roster after Chris Wormley was placed on injured reserve. He played eight snaps on special teams on Sunday against the Ravens.
In addition to Elliott and Edmunds, rookie safety Antoine Brooks, having been elevated for today’s game, is now also out of elevations. That means if the Steelers want to dress him in any of the final eight games or the postseason, he must be promoted to the 53-man roster.
Deon Cain is the only other player so far this season who has been elevated, and he was elevated for on game when Diontae Johnson was out, so he can still dress for one more game before the Steelers would have to sign him to a new contract to the 53.
Through eight games, the Steelers have now used the elevation procedure in five different weeks for four different players, including each of the past five weeks. They have used seven elevations in total during that span.