The Pittsburgh Steelers have waived punter Braden Mann, the team announced on Wednesday.
Mann had been in a battle with Steelers incumbent Pressley Harvin III throughout training camp, but it became clear by the end that Harvin had elevated his play and earned his spot.
Nonetheless, the Steelers kept both punters on the 53-man roster through the cut-down period on Tuesday, likely in an effort to trade one of the two punters.
The Philadelphia Eagles had reportedly shown interest in Mann. They waived their incumbent punter, Arryn Siposs, on Tuesday, leaving the team without a punter on their initial 53-man roster.
But the presence of a pair of talented former Steelers punting proteges on the waiver wire may have thrown Omar Khan’s plan into disarray. The Cincinnati Bengals waived Drue Chrisman and the New England Patriots waived Corliss Waitman, both of whom had better yards per punt averages than Mann did with the New York Jets.
The Steelers claimed Mann on waivers from the Jets on April 14. In three seasons in New York, he posted an average of 45.4 yards per punt and landed 60 punts inside the 20-yard line, including a career-high 27 this past season. However, his net punting yardage came in only at 39.5 net yards per punt over the three seasons, posting a 40.6 net yardage per punt in 2022.
Harvin finished 19th in the NFL in net punting average at 41.1, a three-yard improvement over his rookie season, and his 137 total return yards was the second-fewest among regular punters. But his gross average was just 44.5, or 28th in the league, because of too many short kicks off the side of his foot.
Harvin showed improved consistency during training camp and the preseason, and that, in addition to his bigger leg, was enough for him to win the job.
With Mann on waivers, the Steelers’ active roster will be at 52 players, but the team has not officially added cornerback Desmond King, who they will sign after his release by the Houston Texans.