The Steelers announced their final cuts at 4pm this afternoon. Here is a quick look at the Steelers 53-man roster as it stands today. We stress the “initial” version of this roster because the Steelers have typically made moves in the past prior to their season opening game. With an extra week this season between the end of the preseason and the start of the regular season, you should fully expect some moves to be made. Waiver claims can be made for players that were cut league-wide and will be awarded tomorrow. The Steelers can sign players to their 16-man practice squad beginning tomorrow afternoon.
QB (3): Roethlisberger, Rudolph, Haskins
RB (5): Harris, Snell, McFarland, Ballage, Watt (FB)
WR (5): Smith-Schuster, Claypool, Johnson, Washington, McCloud
TE (3): Ebron, Freiermuth, Gentry
OL (8): Okorafor, Dotson, Green, Turner, Banner, Moore, Haeg, Hassenauer
The biggest surprises here were on the offensive line. The Steelers have traditionally kept 9 linemen on their 53-man roster. Only keeping 8 changes the equation, though they also kept an extra running back between Benny Snell, Anthony McFarland, and Kalen Ballage. It would not be a shock to see the Steelers add another offensive lineman (in particular a tackle) between now and the Bills game.
DL (8): Heyward, Alualu, Tuitt, Wormley, Buggs, Davis, Loudermilk, Mondeaux
OLB (4): Watt, Highsmith, Ingram, Jones
ILB (6): Bush, Schobert, Spillane, Gilbert, Allen, Johnson
CB (4): Haden, Sutton, Pierre, Layne
S (4): Fitzpatrick, Edmunds, Killebrew, Norwood
Some of the biggest surprises, and biggest rooms for movement, came on defense. For starters, in the past the Steelers had only kept 6 defensive linemen but that number ballooned to 8 this year with Isaiah Buggs, Carlos Davis, Isaiah Loudermilk and Henry Mondeaux making the team. Stephon Tuitt’s status for the season-opener has been called into question so having an extra lineman on the roster is prudent. Additionally, 6 inside linebackers were kept with Ulysses Gilbert, Marcus Allen, and Buddy Johnson all making the roster. In the secondary, only 8 defensive backs made the team. The Steelers kept just 4 cornerbacks (when they typically keep 5 or 6) which may be an indication they are looking at the waiver wire and free agent market to add another corner.
The surprise here is Christian Kuntz winning the long-snapper’s job over Kameron Canaday. However, as we noted in the “What to Watch For” post prior to the Panthers game, there are salary considerations here as well. The Steelers gave Canaday a 2-year $2 million contract this offseason while Kuntz is on a minimum-level salary. This frees up a little bit of cap room this year and a bit more next year (about $1 million).