Dulac: Marcus Allen To Return To Steelers After Damontae Kazee Placed On IR

After Pittsburgh cut their roster down to 53 guys today, it was assumed that some players would circle back to the team after guys were replaced on injured reserve. That definitely appears to be the case, as Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette reported that inside linebacker Marcus Allen will return to the team after safety Damontae Kazee is placed on injured reserve.

It comes as no surprise that the team is waiting to place Kazee on IR, as that way he will be able to return to the team at some point this year. If he was placed on IR before roster cutdowns, he would have to miss the entire season. Allen is a logical player to bring back to fill the spot that will be vacated by Kazee, as he began his NFL career as a safety before making the switch to outside linebacker.

Releasing Allen also made sense, as since he isn’t a vested veteran, he has to pass through waivers. It’s extremely unlikely any team would want to pick up his $2.54m salary if they claimed him, leaving him free to hit the open market and return to Pittsburgh, likely on a reduced salary. Once he officially clears the team places Kazee on IR, expect Allen to return on a one-year contract.

With Myles Jack, Devin Bush, Robert Spillane and Mark Robinson also in the fold at inside linebacker, Allen likely won’t see a ton of playing time. However, he knows the system and is reliable, cheap depth who also holds special teams value. Last year, Allen played 65% of Pittsburgh’s special teams snaps, a jump from 49% in 2020. He missed some time this preseason with an injury, but he should be healthy now. Look for him to possibly be a contributor on special teams again this season.

Pittsburgh made a similar move last year, releasing Arthur Maulet, B.J. Finney and Rashard Coward in their cut to 53 before bringing them back after placing other guys on IR. It’s a smart business move to ensure the Steelers are putting the best team on the field when it matters the most at the end of the season, and not needlessly ending the seasons of players who have a shot to return. Dulac said the expectation is that Kazee will return this year, which obviously is a major boon for Pittsburgh. Bringing Allen backs helps solidfy the defensive depth in his absence and will help make them better while he’s out. All in all, it’s good business by Omar Khan, Andy Weidl and the rest of the front office.

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