Why reactions to Steelers latest roster moves have future looking even brighter

Steelers, Omar Khan
Steelers, Omar Khan / George Gojkovich/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers have already gotten a heaping amount of praise for having one of the draft’s best hauls. However, their offseason excellence hasn’t slowed down in the slightest.

Over the past several days, the Steelers have made headlines for some of the fat-shedding they’ve done to their roster. This was especially noteworthy when looking at the cornerback position, which saw both Arthur Maulet and Ahkello Witherspoon (the latter being really important to today’s subject) get the boot.

Hold on, timeout: I just referred to their offseason decisions as “excellence,” now I’m talking about them scrapping two pieces of their already-imperfect secondary? Why would moves like those ever qualify as excellence of any kind? Well, there are actually multiple reasons as to why, and no one is more eager to share them with the masses than Steeler Nation itself.

Sports fans are notorious for being brutally honest with their organizations and the men/women who play for them, and the ones in black and yellow are no exceptions. Of the reactions to Ian Rapoport’s (@RapSheet) Twitter post confirming Witherspoon’s release, most were rather supportive of the call.

“Thought he was gonna be our next shutdown corner but dude couldn’t get back on the field last year,” one commenter by the name of Austin Barnhart (@barnhart101b) said. “Hate to see it but need players who can play a season & not hit our cap.” 

Benjamin Black (@BenBlack97), another user who shared an opinion on the matter, focused less on the role Witherspoon himself played in the dismissal and more on what it could be saying about some of Pittsburgh’s newest arrivals.

“This gives me a little more confidence in players like JPJ and Cory Trice,” Black said. “I doubt they would have done this if they haven't been doing well so far.”

Those two stood out as being some of the more professional comments underneath Rapoport’s tweet, but especially when combined with the more obnoxious ones, they were enough for the general takeaway to be blatantly clear: Witherspoon’s release was fair, but the Steelers going through with it still shows a lot in regards to their confidence as an organization.

What does this say about the Steelers from a management standpoint?

Speaking of which, that is the entire theme of this discussion—confidence, the willingness to make a big move, even if it means taking a risk in the process. Beyond the aforementioned judgment of players, that was perhaps the main thing Steelers fans spoke up for, as some were quick to mention GM Omar Khan by name.

The majority of the posts that acknowledged Khan did so with memes, including edited photos of him and references to him “cooking.” One stood out to me, however, due to its genuine—and somewhat harsh—nature along with the endorsements that it got from other users. It came from an account simply named Zach (@thisappreekz), and it read as follows: “Khan fixing all of Colbert’s mistakes, love to see it.”

Now I do not bring any of this stuff up to imply that it speaks for all Steelers fans. Rather, I do so simply for the sake of showing that the still-young Khan era is one that acts without fear, and that’s the type of management that a franchise needs.

While such a trait doesn’t promise any specific outcomes, it establishes a commitment to the players that the team is invested in. It also reminds us that the team is ready to make any moves necessary—no matter how questionable they may be at face value—to increase the chances of striking gold.

Next. 4 moves Steelers must make with the Ahkello Witherspoon savings. dark

They may not always seem like much on their own, but Omar Khan’s orders of business as GM have yinzers in his corner, and in good time. The reactions he’s managed to get out of folks as of late proves that, and it gets Steeler Nation all the more hyped for the coming years. When talking about an iconic organization that’s thirsty for a breakthrough, that level of optimism goes a long way.