Steelers Part Ways With Former Offensive Starter & Specialist - Sport News

Steelers Part Ways With Former Offensive Starter & Specialist

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on February 12 that the Pittsburgh Steelers released quarterback Mitch Trubisky. The Steelers confirmed that report but also announced that, along with Trubisky, the team has released offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor and punter Pressley Harvin III.

Okorafor started 59 games over six seasons for the Steelers, including 33 of 34 contests from 2021-22. But the Steelers benched Okorafor after Week 8, and he played just 11 offensive snaps in the final 10 games.

Chukwuma Okorafor

Harvin punted for the Steelers from 2021-23. However, he was wildly inconsistent.

Overall in 2023, he averaged 43.8 yards per punt and 39.1 net yards per punt attempt. Both of those totals were setbacks from his 2022 totals.

With the releases of Trubisky, Okorafor and Harvin, the Steelers cleared almost $13 million in cap space.

Steelers Cut Former Starting RT Chukwuma Okorafor
First-round rookie Broderick Jones replaced Okorafor in the starting lineup beginning in Week 9. However, it wasn’t because of Okorafor’s performance.

Okorafor explained to the media on November 2 that he was benched because he acted out “in a way he shouldn’t have as a sixth-year veteran.”

Okorafor, who the Steelers drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft, added that he was going to take it day-by-day and try to find a way back onto the field.

But he never managed to reclaim a starting role on offense. In three of the team’s final eight games, Okorafor didn’t play at all.

Without him, Jones started at right tackle and faired well despite left tackle being his more natural position. Dan Moore remained at left tackle.

On January 22, SI.com’s All Steelers’ Noah Strackbein urged the Steelers to find a trade partner for Okorafor rather than just release him. On February 12, The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly expressed that he would have pursued that possibility as well.

“I would’ve tried to trade Okorafor rather than release him,” wrote Kaboly on X (formerly Twitter).

I would’ve tried to trade Okorafor rather than release him but six of one or a half dozen of the other.

Instead, the Steelers are simply moving on and saving $8.75 million against the 2024 salary cap.

Steelers Also Release Punter Pressley Harvin III
The Steelers announced a change to the special teams unit as well on February 12, parting ways with Harvin.

The 25-year-old punter was frustrating to no end in 2023, especially early in the season when field position was critical for the struggling Steelers offense.

With Harvin punting in 15 of 17 contests during 2023, the Steelers finished second-to-last in average yards per punt and 28th in net yards per punt.

Steelers punters were also tied for the third-most touchbacks with 8 in 2023.

The Steelers drafted Harvin at No. 254 overall in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL draft. He was average at best in his first two seasons, but Harvin won the punter competition with Braden Mann in training camp last summer.

In 47 games with Pittsburgh, Harvin averaged 43.7 yards per punt and 39.4 net yards per punt.

More Cuts Coming for the Steelers?
The Steelers opened nearly $13 million of space. However, it won’t be quite that much after displacement.

“I know you will read reports about the Steelers saving nearly $13 million in cap space but remember, when one player leaves the top 51, another player replaces him within it,” the Steelers Depot X account wrote.

According to Spotrac, the Steelers are now about $4.3 million over the salary cap after starting the offseason roughly $14.7 million over the cap.

Even counting the extra space not included after displacement, the Steelers would still have to make another move or two in order to get out of the cap space negative.

Steelers Depot wrote on X that center Mason Cole, cornerback Patrick Peterson and defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi are other players that are due March roster bonuses.

The fact they weren’t part of the February 12 cuts could indicate the Steelers plan on keeping them for 2024. However, that’s hardly a guarantee for all three players, especially with the team needing more cap space.

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