The Pittsburgh Steelers have waived defensive back Bryce Watts from the injured reserve list with an injury settlement, according to the NFL transactions page for Monday.
Watts, an undrafted rookie from UMass, suffered an undisclosed, football-related injury, likely during the team’s rookie minicamp. He was waived by the Steelers with an injury designation on May 16. He subsequently cleared waivers and reverted to the injured reserve on May 17.
The sum of the settlement was not disclosed, but will pay what Watts would have earned through the expected duration of his injury. He is now free to sign with another team if he chooses to. He can re-sign with the Steelers, but cannot do so until three weeks beyond the time he is expected to miss with injury have passed.
Watts is the second young defensive back to go through the injury waivers process so far this offseason, joining Isaiah Johnson, who also cleared waivers and reverted to the injured reserve list after being waived/injured. Johnson remains on the team’s injured reserve list.
The Steelers signed undrafted rookie defensive back Carlins Platel after hosting him at rookie minicamp for a tryout.
Watts entered the draft despite being a redshirt junior and still having one year of college eligibility left. The 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback is from Toms River, New Jersey and went to Toms River North High School.
He originally went to Virginia Tech from 2017-18 and started at cornerback in 2018 while appearing in all games as a freshman on special teams or a defensive back replacement in 2017. He then transferred to the University of North Carolina prior to the 2019 season, but sat out that year due to the NCAA’s transfer policy at the time. He later found himself at UMass prior to the 2021 season.
He only had one interception while at UMass and that came against Connecticut on Oct. 9. He had 43 tackles last season, with a high of seven coming against Toledo on Oct. 2.
The Steelers’ offseason roster remains at 90 men ahead of Tuesday’s start of OTAs.