Steelers waive athletic linebacker Tanner Muse despite strong preseason finish

  • Muse finished training camp on a strong note, but it wasn't enough
  • What does this mean for the LB position in 2023?
Steelers, Tanner Muse
Steelers, Tanner Muse / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

In a somewhat surprising move, the Pittsburgh Steelers have waived linebacker Tanner Muse, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports. Muse was part of the linebacker overhaul that Omar Khan assembled during the 2023 offseason after making the decision to cut ties with Myles Jack, Devin Bush, and Robert Spillane.

Muse had an up-and-down summer for the Steelers. He flashed at times during Steelers training camp, but could barely manage to earn second-team reps thanks to the flood of incoming talent at the linebacker position.

For Muse, it was never about how much playing time he would get in Pittsburgh; rather, whether or not he would be able to make the team as the fifth linebacker. Since the start of the 2023 free agency period, the Steelers dished out good money on players like Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts. Later on, they made a somewhat unexpected move to add former Pro Bowler, Kwon Alexander.

These acquisitions were in addition to Pittsburgh already possessing former draft pick, Mark Robinson. Muse's path to playing time was grim and his roster spot was never assured.

After struggling mightily in the first preseason game against the Buccaneers, Muse turned things around in Week 2 of the preseason against the Bills when he graded out as the best defender on the team -- earning a 90.4 overall grade, according to Pro Football Focus. Muse finished on a high note with another strong performance against the Falcons in the preseason finale. Sadly, it wasn't enough to save his roster spot.

The fact that Muse had been playing so late into these exhibition games wasn't a great sign for him. Now there are plenty of questions involving the linebacker position in Pittsburgh. Did Nick Kwiatkowski somehow just beat out Tanner Muse? Are the Steelers going to keep a fifth linebacker this year? Will Muse circle back to the team after other roster moves?

Right now, it's hard to say for sure what the intentions were with this Steelers roster decision. Hopefully, it all works out for both Muse and Pittsburgh in the end.