Veterans Steelers could cut after the NFL Draft

Following an impressive 2024 draft class, the Steelers could be open to moving on from these three veterans.
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers are putting the finishing touches on their 2024 summer roster. Following another impressive draft class under Omar Khan, Pittsburgh signed a handful of undrafted free agents. In the coming months, the front office will be looking for ways to make the roster even better.

Cutting a few veterans could be one necessary step toward improving the team. Though disposing of talent seems like it's working against the cause, the Steelers could use the salary cap savings to restock their roster with players who fit what they are looking for.

Some positions on the Steelers roster are suddenly deep, and changes could be coming. Here are three veterans who could be cut after the NFL Draft.

S Damontae Kazee

Damontae Kazee has had an up-and-down two-year stint with the Steelers, but it's not hard to see why Pittsburgh could look to move on. After showing promise in limited action in 2022, Kazee's performance came crashing back down to earth last year when he was forced to play a bigger role with Minkah Fitzpatrick often injured.

Kazee will be 31 years old before training camp and has been demoted to a reserve role with the Steelers signing DeShon Elliott in free agency. It's also possible that Pittsburgh views rookie draft pick Ryan Watts as a safety.

The Steelers could save $3 million instantly by releasing Damontae Kazee, and they could throw that money back into a younger, fresher safety in free agency. They could even save money by swapping Kazee for free agent and former first-round pick, Terrell Edmunds. Edmunds recently turned 27 years old, is a better athlete, and has started 79 of 95 career games in the NFL.

LB Cole Holcomb

The best-case scenario with Cole Holcomb is that he makes a full recovery from the gruesome knee injury he suffered in the middle of the 2023 season, and he's able to be a big asset to Pittsburgh's defense in 2024. Unfortunately, this isn't something we can count on.

The fact that the Steelers not only signed the most expensive free agent linebacker this year in Patrick Queen but also took one of the best linebackers in the draft (Payton Wilson) could mean that they don't expect Holcomb to be part of the equation.

The friendly fire hit on Holcomb that caused the severe knee injury was most unfortunate. But the Steelers may be forced to make another business decision here if he doesn't show progress soon. Pittsburgh could save $6 million if they designate Holcomb as a post-June 1st cut, per Over the Cap. This is a good deal of money they could use to bolster their roster ahead of Steelers training camp.

DL DeMarvin Leal

DeMarvin Leal might not have gotten a fair shake with the Steelers, but his fit in Pittsburgh was always a major question mark. The former base defensive end at Texas A&M has not made a successful transition to the interior defensive line. As a result, Leal was a healthy scratch for the Steelers late in his second season in 2023.

Now that free agent Dean Lowry and rookie draft pick Logan Lee have been added to the mix, Leal could be on his way out. Though it's probably wise to carry him through training camp and see if he can make a third-year leap, the Steelers could cut Leal if they feel the depth is needed elsewhere on their 90-man roster.

Leal, a former 3rd-round pick in Kevin Colbert's final draft as general manager, has recorded just 1 sack and 3 tackles for a loss in 23 career games. He has been a non-factor to this point, and if no team is willing to swap a late-round pick for his services, I wouldn't be surprised if Pittsburgh cut him.