On Tuesday, Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger published a piece listing a potential cut candidate for all 32 teams in the NFL ahead of the start of the new league year in March. Plenty of teams will be looking to free up cap space and move on from some bad contracts currently on their books to re-sign their own free agents as well as go out on the free agent market in attempt to fill various holes on their respective rosters.
When Spielberger got to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the name he mentioned as a possible cut candidate should come as no surprise to anyone who reads the site and listens to the Terrible Podcast: CB William Jackson III.
Salary Cap Details: $0 dead money, $12,176,471 cap savings
“Washington traded Jackson at the deadline after he expressed frustration with his deployment, and he was promptly placed on injured reserve with a back injury before taking a single snap in Pittsburgh,” Spielberger said. “The Steelers may find a way to keep Jackson on a reworked deal in 2023 after trading for him despite the expectation he was going to be waived, but it won’t be on his current contract.”
Pittsburgh’s infatuation with Jackson back in the 2016 NFL Draft likely prompted the team to take a flier on the veteran corner on a low-cost, potential upside deal in which Pittsburgh is now off the hook for sending any draft compensation Washington’s way. However, Jackson never played a down for the Steelers in 2022 as he sustained a back injury prior to being traded, resulting in Pittsburgh placing Jackson on IR shortly after he was acquired from the Commanders.
With Pittsburgh needing to free up cap space to re-sign fellow CB Cam Sutton as well as address other needs on the roster, retaining Jackson at his current number would be downright irresponsible. Is there a chance that Jackson could be back on a reworked deal like Spielberger suggests? Sure, but given the fact that Jackson has seen his play drop off in recent seasons, has dealt with various injuries that have kept him from playing a full season since 2018, and the fact that he is over 30, Pittsburgh would be better off cutting their losses.
They could see if Jackson would want to come back on a deal near the veteran minimum or allocate more of those resources to a younger corner on the free agent market to potentially pair with Levi Wallace and a re-signed Cam Sutton. Don’t forget James Pierre is also slated to hit free agency as an RFA, and he represented himself well down the stretch.
Regardless, cutting Jackson is the sensible thing to do, and should he want to return for the veteran minimum, I’m all here for it. However, moving on from him and retaining Pierre and Sutton with Wallace while finding another CB in the draft seems like the more likely scenario and the path I expect the Steelers to take as we sit here in mid-February.