5 Pittsburgh Steelers Veterans Who Will Not Make The Final Roster
5 Pittsburgh Steelers Who Will Be Cut
The Pittsburgh Steelers have had an interesting offseason. It was headlined by the players who left to play for other teams rather than the ones who put on the black and yellow. Mike Wallace went for the big money to play for the Miami Dolphins. James Harrison was cut and signed with the division rival Cincinnati Bengals. The oft-injured lineman Willie Colon was released and signed with the New York Jets. Chris Rainey was a surprise rookie in 2012, but off the field issues ended his time in Pittsburgh. Keenan Lewis left to sign big money with the New Orleans Saints. Ryan Mundy and Will Allen went to play each other for separate NFC East rivals. The losses on an already underachieving Steelers team are astounding.
How are there still any veterans left to cut? The big names are already out of the locker room. It is clear that the Steelers' brass is putting a bunch of defensive eggs in the "our stars will stay healthy" basket. Troy Polamalu missed more than half the season last year and hasn't looked dominant in three years. Ike Taylor missed four games last season as well. The Steelers cannot afford another season where they deal with a ton of injuries. The defense needs to stay on the field for this team to be as good as the fans in Pittsburgh expect from them.
Speaking of injured, to go anywhere this season Ben Roethlisberger needs to play every game. He is the most important player. They need to build the team around him. If a veteran is not working with him, they are going to be expendable. Most of the final cuts are not names that the casual fan would know, but they are names the diehard fans will be very familiar with. There are always those final cuts that make you gasp and wonder what the team was thinking. Even with the moves that they have already made, there are still cuts to some well known vets that coach Mike Tomlin is going to have to decide upon.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils columnist for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter here and add him to your Google profile.
John Parker Wilson
We will start off with the obvious one. You would be surprised to know that John Parker Wilson is a four-year veteran. He was brought into this team to play in case of an injury in preseason. With the Steelers spending a fourth-round pick on Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones, it just doesn't seem like there is room for Wilson. It is unfortunate since he is having a good training camp. If a team thinks that they could use a third quarterback then he will get picked up, but with Roethlisberger, Jones and the recently signed Bruce Gradkowski all but guaranteed to be on the roster there is no need to keep Wilson as a fourth.
D'Anthony Batiste was a surprise signing in the first place. The journeyman lineman has spent his career playing for now seven different teams. He was only signed August 10 after Nik Embernate was lost to a knee injury. He started ten games last season for the first time in his seven year career. He did not do any favors for Kevin Kolb or John Skelton. In those ten games, he allowed 12 sacks and 35 quarterback hurries. Most people outside of the organization think that he was only signed based on the friendship he has with Ike Taylor. He is currently fighting Joe Long for the backup left tackle position. He played pretty poorly in the first preseason game, and his career doesn't say that he is going to turn it around any time soon. The Steelers fans know what it is like to watch a bad offensive line, and Batiste would only add to the fans' agony if he were to stay.
Jerricho Cotchery was the hardest player to put onto this list. The Steelers do not have a veteran receiver with the injury to Plaxico Burress. There was chatter lately that he could be traded for a sixth or seventh round pick. Consensus says that they want to keep Cotchery, but I don't understand why you don't try to get value for a guy who will give you the same production you would get from Justin Brown, who is having a very good camp. This may be the most controversial pick of all the cuts because of the lack of depth at wide receiver, but the $1 million they would save could be used to get a much better backup lineman while not worrying about downgrading the wide receiver position.
Stevenson Sylvester is in a large battle to make the team as a backup linebacker. There have been varying expectations for the fifth year player out of Utah, and he has seemed to fall short of all of them. He came into the league as a great special teams player, but he seems to have lost a step in that aspect as well. Last season he couldn't stay healthy, and he has already been injured this season. He left limping from the first game against the New York Giants. He seems to be okay, but it can hurt him in trying to keep his spot on this team. He was shown what the team thinks of him when he was the only restricted free agent to not be offered a tender. He needs to play out of his mind just to hold off Vince Williams and Brian Rolle. He ends up being a casualty when the preseason ends.
How do you cut the player who led your team in rushing? Mike Tomlin has been on him for staying in shape and he finally seems to be listening. How do you cut him now? It is no surprise that the Steelers have a logjam at the running back position. They signed LaRod Stephens-Howling to be the home run hitter and change of pace back. They used their second round draft pick on Michigan State product Le'Veon Bell, who has since risen to the top of the depth chart. Then there is the battle between Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. It looks bad for Dwyer, who, beyond one 11-yard run, had five carries for four yards in the preseason game against the Giants. It may be surprising to think about him not playing in the black and yellow, but expect to see Dwyer donning a different jersey this season.