The Steelers released veteran wide receiver Donte Moncrief and promoted running back Tony Brooks-James from the practice squad on Saturday.
Moncrief, one of the Steelers’ key free agent acquisitions over the offseason, had fallen behind rookie Diontae Johnson and second-year receiver James Washington on the Steelers depth chart after some early issues with drops. He had just four catches for 18 yards through the team’s first seven games.
The 26-year-old signed a two-year, $9 million contract with the Steelers this offseason and his release will leave the Steelers with a $1.75 million dead cap hit for the 2020 season.
Moncrief’s release will allow the Steelers to recoup a potential compensatory draft pick that was put in jeopardy when the Philadelphia Eagles cut linebacker L.J. Fort. Fort, Le’Veon Bell and Jesse James counted for the Steelers as offseason free agency losses against gains of Moncrief and Steven Nelson.
With Fort and Moncrief out of the mix, the Steelers again will be in the mix for a high-round compensatory draft pick.
Brooks-James will be added to the roster to help a thin running backs room that will be missing third-string back Benny Snell, Jr., who is out after knee surgery, and starter James Conner, who is doubtful with a shoulder injury.
Usual backup Jaylen Samuels is expected to start against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, with veteran Trey Edwards serving as the primary backup.
Brooks-James is a 5-foot-9, 185-pound rookie back noted for his speed and ability to get to the edge. In four years at Oregon, he rushed for 1,863 yards on 283 carries. He joined the Steelers’ practice squad on Oct. 15 after previously spending time with the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/18/20
James Conner tested out his injured ankle and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw passes to JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Chase Claypool during practice on Friday, September 18, 2020.
This practice was in preparation for the Steelers week 2 game on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
Cam Heyward Named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward has been named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1.
Heyward was honored for installing his first Little Free Library, a book-sharing box placed in underserved communities around the Pittsburgh area.
Congrats to @camheyward on being named Week 1 #CommunityMVP for installing his first Little Free Library. The book-sharing boxes provide 24-7 access to literacy for underserved Pittsburgh communities while honoring the legacy in education of his late grandfather. pic.twitter.com/uKwbnz28A1— NFLPA (@NFLPA) September 18, 2020
Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that “inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.”
The installation of the book-sharing boxes marks the launch of the Rufus and Judy Jordan Literacy Project, a new initiative of the Cameron Heyward Foundation that will work to promote children’s literacy and honor his late grandparents, both of whom were lifelong educators in Pittsburgh.
Drafted in first round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Heyward has spend his entire career in Pittsburgh. He is a three-time Pro Bowler, and has twice received First-Team All-Pro honors.
Heyward and the Steelers agreed to a four-year, $71.4 million contract extension on Sept. 6 that will allow him to retire in Pittsburgh and make him the highest-paid defense player over the age of 30 in NFL history.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/17/20
The Steelers finally experienced a practice with almost everyone on the roster able to take the field. Only two players did not take part in practice before their week 2 game against Denver.
Alex Highsmith and Minkah Fitzpatrick stood out from the rest on Thursday, September 17, 2020.