NFL teams had until 4 p.m. Eastern time Monday to trim their rosters down to 75 players, and the Pittsburgh Steelers made their first round of roster cuts Sunday evening with a couple of familiar names being released.
Running back Baron Batch and linebacker Stevenson Sylvester were among the players who didn’t survive the first round of cuts, with Batch being the biggest surprise of them all.
With Isaac Redman banged up and LaRod Stephens-Howling not likely to be ready for the season opener Sept. 8 against the Tennessee Titans, you would figure that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin would carry as many running backs as possible, especially with rookie Le’Veon Bell out six to eight weeks.
With Batch’s ability to also play special teams, it may have made sense to hang onto him for a couple more weeks until everyone was healthy and then make a move with him at that time.
Coming into camp it looked like Batch would have been competing with Jonathan Dwyer for the final running back spot and many gave him the edge considering he also played special teams. But with the rash of injuries to the running backs, Dwyer’s value increased by a ton.
As for Sylvester, he has been a cog on special teams the past few years, but has also been injury prone. The Steelers’ special teams have struggled all preseason and there have been some strong showings from other good young linebackers, which ultimately made him expendable.
The Steelers also released tackle D’Anthony Batiste, tackle Mike Farrell, receiver David Gilreath, receiver Tyler Shaw, cornerback Ryan Steed, tight end Peter Tuitupou, quarterback John Parker Wilson, receiver J.D. Woods and running back Jeremy Wright.
In addition they put linebacker Sean Spence on reserve/PUP, waived-injured guard Justin Cheadle and cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, and placed defensive end Nick Williams on the injured reserve list.
The next round of roster cuts will come after the Steelers wrap up the preseason on Thursday against the Carolina Panthers as the roster must be trimmed to 53 players.