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David Johnson waived, Steelers sign journeyman TE Justin Peelle

Pittsburgh Steelers FB/TE David Johnson was waived on Monday by the team. Since he was on a 1 yr deal they could place him on a waived/injured list and then free up the roster spot for another player, in this case free agent Justin Peelle who signed a 1 yr deal. He will wear #47 according to the press release on the team’s website.It may seem a bit harsh to cut a player in this type of circumstance but it’s a constant reminder that life in the NFL is a business and nobody is above getting cut when you’re trying to build a team that can win now and in the future. Keep in mind too that the team can bring him back if he clears waivers.

Bob Labriola of tweeted out the information this evening: Signed is veteran TE Justin Peelle. David Johnson is waived injured, because he’s on a 1-year deal.

DJ was having one of his best camps to date, and Mike Tomlin spoke highly of the young man as he showed great versatility,¬†something the Steelers always value, in both the fullback and tight end role.Even the talk of Johnson being moved to a full time fullback wasn’t enough to make Tomlin pigeon hole him into just 1 role, saying that he’s been doing great and that we’d see him in preseason at TE. He did play that position to open the game, and finished with 2 catches for 13 yds before leaving the game with the later determined ACL injury.

Johnson was in a tight battle at both positions but had a good chance of keeping his roster spot because of that versatility that we mentioned. He was one of those jack of all trades, master of none type players. He wasn’t a superb blocker but he was above average. He also had decent hands and was a regular target in the passing game early in the season in 2011 especially.

That preseason game turned out to be his last as he was waived today, allowing another team to pick him up if they want and then eventually place him on injured reserve for the remainder of the 2012 campaign. As we said before though, if he clears waivers as expected, the Steelers can bring him back and place him on IR for the season. As Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette points out, he would still get his $1.26 million tender for the season and be an unrestricted free agent next year.

Just Peelle is a journeyman player since being a 5th round pick in 2002 by the San Diego Chargers. Since then he’s also played with Miami, Atlanta, and finally San Francisco in 2011. He’ll be in a tight battle though with Leonard Pope, Weslye Saunders, and Jamie McCoy. Even with Saunders having to serve a 4 game suspension to start the year, he’s got a very good chance to still make the team. Peelle will have his chance to make a name for himself in the next 3 preseason games but with so much competition fighting for what is likely 2 roster spots behind Heath Miller, it won’t be easy.

Below are the career stats for Peelle.

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