The Steelers have released veteran linebacker Vince Williams, the team announced on Tuesday.
Williams had been set to enter the final season of a four-year contract that he signed with the team back in 2018. His release will save the team $4 million in salary cap space while creating a $3.03 million dead cap hit.
The news of Williams’ departure was first reported by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
The 31-year-old Williams has spent his entire eight-year career with the Steelers since they drafted him out of Florida State in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Williams started 69 games in his eight seasons with the club, and was the team’s primary starter at inside linebacker for the last four seasons. He has 479 tackles, 50 tackles for loss, 45 quarterbacks hits, 20.5 sacks, six fumble recoveries and two interceptions in his Steelers career.
In 2020, he was second on the team with 70 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and tied for fifth with three sacks while making 14 starts. Williams was a key cog in a unit that dealt with injuries to fellow starter Devin Bush and backups Ulysees Gilbert III and Robert Spillane.
Spillane, who recently was tendered a one-year contract as an exclusive rights free agent, is projected to replace Williams in the Steelers’ starting lineup.
Though the Steelers have been dealing with an ongoing salary cap crunch that has caused the restructuring of several contracts, Williams is the only veteran player the team has had to release so far in order to remain cap compliant.