Steelers free up substantial cap space by releasing CB William Jackson III

Tommy Jaggi
Steelers, William Jackson III
Steelers, William Jackson III / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

On Friday evening, the Pittsburgh Steelers made an inevitable roster move that was long overdue: the officially released William Jackson III, Ari Meirov reports. Pittsburgh traded for the veteran cornerback just before the 2022 trade deadline, but he quickly landed on IR with the Steelers.

Because Jackson didn't play at all last season, he didn't hit playtime incentives and thus Pittsburgh doesn't have to swap future late-round draft capital with the Commanders. The decision to release Jackson instantly frees up over $12.1 million for the Steelers.

This move comes just in the nick of time, as the free agency legal tampering period kicks off on Monday, March 13th. At this time, teams will be able to start negotiating deals with new organizations.

With Jackson's departure, the Steelers vault themselves out of a salary cap hole and into positive money as they now sit at approximately $10.4 million above the cap, according to Over the Cap. This still isn't a lot of money to work with in terms of spending in free agency and retaining their own players, but more moves are sure to follow.

Steelers are done releasing players yet

William Jackson will prove to be the first of several players to be released in an effort to clear up salary cap space, as we can expect that other contracts will soon be terminated. The decision to cut ties with Jackson was the most obvious move the Steelers could have made this offseason, as they didn't take a dead money hit and saved a substantial amount of cap space.

Now the question is: who comes next? Many have speculated that Pittsburgh could cut ties with backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky and underwhelming linebacker, Myles Jack. Cutting both players would save the Steelers an additional $16 million ($ 8 million each). Players with smaller contracts, like CB Ahkello Witherspoon or Montravius Adams, could also be potential cut candidates in the near future.

Of course, when it comes to freeing up cap space, there's always the option to renegotiate contracts or sign players to extensions. It remains to be seen if something like this will indeed happen.

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For now, fans can take comfort in knowing that Omar Khan is taking the necessary steps to make sure the Pittsburgh Steelers have some spending money to work with when free agency kicks off. Let's hope there are a few more moves to come between now and Monday.