The Pittsburgh Steelers are releasing CB Ahkello Witherspoon, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Witherspoon’s release doesn’t come as a major surprise. A poor performance coupled with a hamstring injury last season saw him play in only four games, recording 20 tackles and one interception. With the Steelers loading up on cornerback in the offseason, signing Patrick Peterson and drafting Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice Jr., Witherspoon became expendable.
Witherspoon was scheduled to make $4 million this season, money the team will save with his release prior to roster displacement. There will be a $1,482,500 dead money charge with his release.
Pittsburgh traded for him shortly before Week One in 2021 and Witherspoon became a valuable player down the stretch, finishing the season with a team-best three interceptions. But his career has been defined by inconsistency and he struggled out of the gate in 2022 to Ja’Marr Chase and the Cincinnati Bengals. With a reported hamstring injury and another dreadful performance later in the year to A.J. Brown and the Philadelphia Eagles, Witherspoon didn’t play a snap the rest of the season.
In his two seasons with Steelers, Witherspoon played in 13 total games and registered three interceptions to go along with 11 pass breakups. He also registered 35 total tackles. Witherspoon, however, has played just 616 defensive snaps in total since arriving in Pittsburgh. A former third round pick of the San Francisco 49ers, he spent time in Seattle before being deal to Pittsburgh.
The top names at outside corner in Pittsburgh are now made up of Peterson, Porter, Trice, Levi Wallace, and James Pierre. Pittsburgh is also reportedly signing XFL star corner Luq Barcoo, who also comes with a bit of NFL experience.