Final cutdowns for all NFL teams were due by 9pm EST on Friday. The Steelers spent the day going over all the possibilities before announcing their cuts this afternoon. Among the interesting moves, they will go with 4 WR’s and 3 QB’s. There was wide speculation that they may go with 5 receivers but David Gilreath, Derrick Williams and the others were all cut today.
Also Sean Spence, rookie LB from Miami was placed on injured reserve after that gut wrenching left knee injury he sustained against the Panthers. Also, OG David DeCastro will also be placed on IR but is the likely candidate to come off during the season under the NFL’s new injured reserve policy.
According to the teams website, Two veterans that have spent time with the Steelers who were released today are offensive lineman Trai Essex and punter Jeremy Kapinos(Waived/Injured List). Essex has played in 76 career games for Pittsburgh (28 starts) while Kapinos has been the team’s punter for most of the past two seasons.
The other 19 players released include defensive backs Damon Cromartie-Smith, Terrence Frederick and Josh Victorian, linebackers Brandon Hicks and Marshall McFadden, defensive linemen Corbin Bryant, Igbinosun Ikponmwosa and Jake Stoller, quarterback Jerrod Johnson, running back DuJuan Harris, wide receivers Tyler Beiler, Toney Clemons, David Gilreath, Marquis Maze and Derrick Williams, and offensive linemen Ryan Lee, John Malecki and Chris Scott.
What it all means….
Any questions you may have had about Mike Wallace being ready for Week One have been answered. By keeping only 4 WRs it’s clear he’ll start in Denver or at the very least play a significant amount of time. Rookie RB speedster Chris Rainey is a definite option in any of Todd Haley’s 5 receiver spread packages.
It’s anybody’s guess if Drew Butler actually won the punting job or simply had it fall into his lap as a result of Jeremy Kapinos’ injury. Butler better improve his ability to kick it inside the 20 immediately though as he had an inconsistent training camp and preseason.
Once DeCastro goes on IR, Trai Essex is the likely candidate to be re-signed. With the injuries to this unit that are almost guaranteed to happen, you’ll want that veteran available. Essex can play all positions on the Offensive Line.
Charlie Batch made his case last night and it worked. The Steelers will go with 3 QBs in 2012. This one could be a surprise as many though Jerrod Johnson showed enough positive signs to possibly make the roster. When it comes right down to it though, based on the injury history of Byron Leftwich, you’ll want Batch there and ready to go if needed. Really that goes both ways because at 37, Batch isn’t exactly a spring chicken.
We’ll have more indepth roster breakdowns coming this weekend so stay tuned.