The Pittsburgh Steelers have several obvious financial decisions to make, but here is the easiest cut this team will make during the 2023 offseason.
If it were up to me, there would be plenty of Pittsburgh Steelers players packing their bags and looking for employment on a different team this offseason. Despite their strong 7-2 finish to the 2022 season, there are numerous roster holes on both sides of the football, and depth is severely lacking. Many of these players still under contract aren’t worth a fraction of the salary cap hit that they will soon cost this team.
Some of these decisions to cut ties with players become even easier when you consider things from a financial perspective. Currently, the Steelers are barely in positive money in terms of cap space in 2023, and the cost of displacement as they sign new players would put them in a financial hole.
Fortunately, Pittsburgh can save a ton of money with several very easy cuts. Over the past several months, we have talked about the substantial savings the Steelers could make by releasing players like Mitch Trubisky and Myles Jack. However, this decision is clearly a no-brainer: cutting cornerback William Jackson III.
Cutting William Jackson is the easiest decision Steelers could make
Many fans were excited when the Pittsburgh Steelers traded for William Jackson just before the deadline in 2022, but I was not a fan of this move. While the risk was admittedly small (just a $2.77 million cap number last year) it didn’t even seem worth the potential payout.
In Washington, Jackson landed on IR with a back injury and his health was a major concern. As it turns out, the Steelers misevaluated the situation and he was never able to suit up for them this year.
Even before the injury with the Commanders this past season, Jackson was having a miserable year. He was beaten often in coverage and he struggled to stick with receivers. This resulted in him earning a dismal 49.6 grade from Pro Football Focus for the 2022 season.
Here’s where the choice gets really easy for the Steelers. If William Jackson is on the roster for the 2023 season, he will earn a $2.5 million roster bonus because of the way his contract is set up, according to Over the Cap. Even worse, Jackson has a total cap number of $12.17 million for the 2023 season.
It doesn’t matter how you slice it, you can’t give a reasonable justification as to why Jackson should be on Pittsburgh’s roster to start the 2023 season. Even if he returns to full health, Jackson is just a below-average cornerback at this stage in his career. The 30-year-old hasn’t had a respectable season since 2020 as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Commanders know they made a grave mistake signing Jackson to a three-year, $40.5 million deal during the 2021 offseason, and they were looking for any way to ditch him before the deadline in 2022.
The good news is that, if the Steelers cut Jackson during the offseason, there won’t be a dead money hit at all, and Pittsburgh will save every penny of that $12.17 million.
If Pittsburgh is adamant about giving Jackson a look in their secondary, they can sign him back to a cheap contract if they choose — there shouldn’t be a bidding war. However, with the money this team can save by cutting him, this is the easiest decision the Steelers could make in 2023.