The Steelers have released inside linebacker Mark Barron and wide receiver Johnny Holton, in addition to releasing outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo, the team announced on Monday.
Barron, 30, was set to count for $8.125 million against the Steelers’ salary cap in 2020 on the second season of a two-year free agent contract signed in 2019. Barron’s release will leave the Steelers with a $2.875 million dead cap hit, allowing the team to realize $5.25 million in salary cap savings.
Holton, 28, would have earned $825,000 in the second season of a two-year free agent contract and will leave the Steelers without a dead cap hit.
The combine releases of Barron, Chickillo and Holton will save the Steelers a total of $11.075 million. The team will still need to make more cuts and/or re-negotiate contracts in order to become salary cap compliant before the top 51 rule goes into effect on Wednesday.
The Steelers were already over the cap before placing a nearly $16 million franchise tender on linebacker Bud Dupree on Monday.
Barron came to the Steelers from the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. He played in 15 games and started nine while splitting time with Vince Williams and rookie Devin Bush in the middle of the Steelers’ defense. A converted safety, Barron was a sub-package specialist.
In 15 games, he recorded 82 tackles, which was third on the team, and also had three sacks, am interception and a fumble recovery.
Holton signed with the Steelers just before the 2019 season after spending his first three NFL seasons with the Oakland Raiders. He started out as the team’s No. 5 receiver, but injuries pushed him up the depth chart and Holton ended up starting three games while playing in all 16.
At inside linebacker, 2019 draft pick Ulysees Gilbert III will become the top backup, as fellow 2019 backup Tyler Matakevich is currently slated to become an unrestricted free agent.
At wide receiver, in-season pickups Deon Cain and Amara Darboh could vie for a depth spoit.