PHILADELPHIA — The Steelers are off on Monday. On Tuesday, there will be five fewer of them.
The NFL has mandated that in 2021, teams cut down from 90 players to 85 early in camp. They’ll later cut down to 80 before making the big, final jump to a 53-man roster and 16-man practice squad.
I’m not quite sure the rationale for the change, but it means little to the final outcome. Those players in the first round of cuts will be the ones that have longest odds of making even the practice squad, and will likely come from deep position groups that won’t miss having the extra bodies around for a few more days.
Where might that be? The team seems especially deep on the defensive line, where cutting to six seems nearly impossible. The team already trimmed Calvin Taylor from that list, but still have nine players on the list, and starters Stephon Tuitt and Cam Heyward should start to take some reps away from younger players.
At running back, Kalen Ballage and Benny Snell Jr. seem set to make returns to full-time work, which should make late-camp additions like Tony Brook-James and Pete Guerriero expendable. The final cut of a veteran will probably take some more thought.
The same situation is occurring on the offensive line, with Zach Banner, Kevin Dotson and Chukwuma Okorafor rounding into form and making a third-team line a luxury and not a necessity.
The Steelers also probably do not need to keep 11 wide receivers at this juncture, though most of that group has made at least one standout play this camp that could lead to argument for a longer look.
Regardless, the first five cuts will be the easy ones, with the process getting more difficult as we more toward the opener. The Steelers will return to practice Tuesday afternoon at Heinz Field.
News and notes from around the Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football League.
🏈 Former Steelers offensive coordinator Joe Walton has died at age 85. Mike Vukovcan
🏈 New Steelers ILB Joe Schobert is wearing No. 45 and practicing with the first team, is already calling plays and working in sub packages, and is coming to Pittsburgh at a steep discount thanks to the Jackonsville Jaguars. Nick Farabaugh and Mike Asti
VIDEO CONTENT FROM PITTSBURGH SPORTS LIVE
AROUND THE NETWORK
Pittsburgh Baseball Now: The Pirates are set to sign former Dodgers slugger Yoshi Tsutsugo
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Goons, goons, and more goons.
Pittsburgh Sports Now: Pitt FB adds former Big 10 four-star O-Lineman
WVU Sports Now: Former WVU BB star impresses in NBA Summer League game
Nittany Sports Now: Sean Clifford is fueled by the doubters
Pittsburgh Golf Now: The final nine at Oakmont flips the script
Pittsburgh Soccer Now: Riverhounds mired after their second straight loss