The Pittsburgh Steelers released edge defender Genary Avery, but it didn’t even take a full day for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to sign him to their roster.
Well, that didn’t take long. Roughly 24 hours from the time the Pittsburgh Steelers released veteran edge defender Genard Avery, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers swooped in and snatched him up, according to NFL insider, Adam Caplan. Avery appeared to be on the fast track for a roster spot in Pittsburgh and many thought he would carve out a role behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith.
Anytime a team signs a player this quickly after he is released, it makes you wonder if the Steelers made the wrong choice letting him go. It wouldn’t be their first time. At the edge defender position alone, Pittsburgh released draft choice, Quincy Roche, on cut-down day last summer and allowed the New York Giants to sign him to the 53-man roster.
The Buccaneers already had players like Joe Tyron-Shoyinka, Shaquil Barrett, and Carl Nassib at the edge defender position. Now Genard Avery will be joining them. Meanwhile, the Steelers depth is razor-thin outside of Watt and Highsmith (which is why Avery almost seemed like a roster lock).
Did the Steelers make the wrong move cutting Avery?
Genard Avery isn’t just some scrub who walked in off the street. He was a former fifth-round draft choice by the Cleveland Browns in 2018 who recorded 4.5 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss during his rookie season in a part-time role, via Pro Football Reference.
Though Avery has bounced around the league, there’s no question that he’s a player deserving of a roster spot — even if it’s one in a limited role. Last year for the Philadelphia Eagles, he started 12 of the 16 games he was dressed for, and his athleticism has given teams a spark off the bench.
Meanwhile, the Steelers don’t have any backup edge defenders with any sort of notable NFL experience. Derek Tuszka now looks like a lock to make the roster as the first edge defender off the bench, while Hamilcar Rashed Jr. — who went undrafted last year and was later signed by the Jets — has the inside track at a roster spot.
The fact that Avery was snatched up so quickly has me regretting this decision more than I already was. Avery’s experience would have been a welcome addition to this defense in 2022 — especially if Watt or Highsmith were to go down for any length of time.
Perhaps the Steelers are planning on signing another edge defender soon. If that’s the case, then releasing Genard Avery during the second wave of cuts doesn’t look so bad. However, it certainly makes you think about this decision after the Buccaneers signed him so quickly after his release. Let’s hope Pittsburgh made the right decision.