It’s been quite the busy day for the Steelers front office as they cuts continue now with the latest being offensive guard Chris Kemoeatu. The team continues to purge itself of salary cap money and veteran players that have been staples on the team for what seems like forever. It’s a surreal time for the Steeler Nation as most of us have anticipated these types of cuts coming but it’s still never easy to deal with.
Steelers offensive lineman Willie Colon tweeted out this afternoon about his latest teammate and friend who will no longer be with him on the field:
@willcolon74: He’s One of the tuffest S.O.B. I’ve ever known. This s*** really hurts. They don’t make it like him anymore! #TheDarksideOftheBuiness
@willcolon74: Take nothing for granted, Ball Hard Die Young #SoleforLife68
Kemoeatu’s salary cap hit was just over $4.3 million and he was signed through the end of the 2013 season when he would have been an unrestricted free agent. This latest move has the Steelers cutting about $41 million in player salaries; but remember that’s not all equated to actual salary cap savings. According to the Trib’s Mark Kaboly via twitter . @MarkKaboly_Trib: By my math, if Smith is cut, #Steelers are $3.5 UNDER the Colbert estimate $25 over. That’s including 6 RFA &3 ERFA tenders & $1.5 borrowed
Big Juicy struggled with a bothersome knee injury that limited him in training camp and preseason and then flared up again in the regular season causing him to miss 3 games. He also eventually lost his starting job due to inconsistent play and penalties; being replaced by a combination of Doug Legursky and Trai Essex most of the time. Yet another reason the Steelers line never was able to gain any continuity.
Kemo just finished up his 7th season after being drafted by the Steelers out of Utah under then head coach Bill Cowher. His play came under fire in recent years with his propensity to draw personal fouls for extra curricular activity, such as diving into piles of players after the play or losing his cool and starting a scuffle. When he was healthy and playing at a high level he was a solid guard known for being one of the best at pulling (getting out in front of the running back to block).
This latest cut would seem to signify that the Steelers are definitely going offensive line in the upcoming NFL draft next month as Kemoeatu was a starter at Guard. Even if Doug Legursky, who’s rehabbing an injury himself this offseason, is ready to take over they’ll need depth for the future.