justin:Steelers need to make five layoffs to get above the…

Steelers need to make five layoffs to get above the salary cap.

The Steelers are projected to be $15.66 million over the salary cap in 2024. If Pittsburgh wants to be active in free agency, nonetheless sign its rookie class, it will need to part ways with some of its under-contract players.

Here are five cuts that make the most sense.

Nfl Pittsburgh Steelers Fan Creations Heritage Logo 24" Round Sign : Target

Allen Robinson II, wide receiver

The Steelers swapped 2023 seventh-round picks with the Los Angeles Rams to acquire Robinson II last offseason. But the 30-year-old’s stint in Pittsburgh should come to an end after having just 280 yards and zero touchdowns in 2023.

Robinson II is still under contract for the 2024 season, but the Steelers would save $10 million if they part ways with the 10-year veteran this offseason. He is expendable with wide receivers Diontae Johnson, George Pickens and Calvin Austin III still on the roster.

Chukwuma Okorafor, right tackle

Okorafor began the season as Pittsburgh’s starting right tackle. However, he was benched in Week 8 for reportedly “acting out” and never started again.

The former third-round pick in 2018 signed a three-year, $29.25 million contract with the Steelers in 2022, but it’s a decision he has come to regret.

“If I knew that was going to be the case, I probably wouldn’t have chose to come back here,” Okorafor said. “But at that point, there wasn’t anything I could do about it.”

First and foremost, Pittsburgh should explore the possibility of trading the 26-year-old. But if there aren’t any teams interested, cutting Okorafor would save the Steelers $8.75 million against the cap.

That’s a lot of money for a player who could ride the bench once again in 2024 after the team spent a first-round pick on offensive tackle Broderick Jones last offseason.

Mason Cole, center

Cole is the weakest link on Pittsburgh’s offensive line and Pro Football Focus agrees, rating him as one of the worst centers in the NFL during the 2023 season.

The soon-to-be 28-year-old signed a three-year, $15.75 million deal with the Steelers in 2022 but they can cut ties with him this offseason.

Moving on from Cole would save the team $4.75 million in cap space. Pittsburgh doesn’t have its replacement for Cole on its roster, but it should have plenty of options in free agency and the draft. Adding a younger, cheaper option at the position makes too much sense.

Patrick Peterson, cornerback

The Steelers signed Peterson to a two-year, $14 million contract last offseason. But it seems the 33-year-old’s age finally caught up to him in 2023. He continuously got picked on, which forced him and the team to consider a position change.

The eight-time Pro Bowler experimented with a switch to safety and he believes it could extend his career. Whether that’s with Pittsburgh remains to be seen, however, as the team would save $6.85 million if it were to cut him.

If the Steelers do opt to keep Peterson and play him at safety, they may decide to cut safety Damontae Kazee or Keanu Neal instead.

Mitchell Trubisky, quarterback

Trubisky signed a two-year, $11.25 million contract extension with Pittsburgh in the offseason after proving to be a capable backup in 2022. But that did not remain true this season, as the QB threw for 632 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions in five games.

The 29-year-old was demoted to the No. 3 QB on the Steelers’ depth chart late in the season, almost guaranteeing the team will move on from him in the coming weeks.

Trubisky is making too much money to be the third-best quarterback on the roster. Pittsburgh would only save $2.94 million by cutting him, but a fresh start for both sides seems inevitable.

The Steelers have several important decisions to make this offseason as they hope to still be playing this time next year. But making these five cuts would save Pittsburgh over $33 million and give them some breathing room ahead of free agency in March.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *