Broncos Waive Former Steelers Linebacker


Justin Berl/Getty Images Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Mark Barron.

In late August, the Denver Broncos had former Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Mark Barron in for a workout. No doubt they rue the day they extended that invitation, not to mention the day they signed him to a one-year $1.75 million contract. On Tuesday the Broncos finally came to the conclusion that Barron was never going to be able to help them, and cut ties with him to make room on the roster for cornerback Parnell Motley.

It was a star-crossed relationship from day one. Shortly after Barron signed his contract he suffered a hamstring injury, which is why he was inactive for Pittsburgh’s 26-21 victory over the Broncos in Week 2. Then, before he could fully recover from the hamstring problem, he suffered a pectoral injury in the team’s weight room, which landed him on injured reserve.

Finally, he was designated for return from IR on November 10th and subsequently added to the active roster in late November, but he never dressed for a game—and therefore never played a single snap for that $1.75 million.

Mark Barron’s Stint With the Steelers

Meanwhile, Barron remains the single-biggest ‘dead money liability’ on the 2020 salary cap of the Steelers. Pittsburgh released him on March 16th of this year in order to save money on his salary, yet he counts for $2.875 million against the team’s cap, approximately a million dollars more than former Steelers wide receiver Donte Moncrief, who recently sparked a win for the New England Patriots, believe it or not.

Barron signed a two-year $12 million contract with the Steelers in March 2019. He went on to appear in 15 games with Pittsburgh last season, recording 82 tackles, plus three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.

Barron is a former first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 7 overall in 2012).

He played for the Buccaneers through 2014, when he moved on to the then-St. Louis Rams. He toiled for the Rams for four seasons before joining the Steelers.

Over the course of his NFL career Barron has appeared in 119 regular season games, recording 710 tackles, 12 sacks, nine interceptions, five forced fumbles and four recovered fumbles. Barron played for the Rams in Super Bowl LIII, which Los Angeles lost to the Patriots, 13-3.

Broncos Still Employ LB Anthony Chickillo

Meanwhile, the Broncos still employ another former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker—Anthony Chickillo—who signed with Denver just days before the Broncos played the Steelers in Pittsburgh back in Week 2.

Like Barron, the Steelers cut Chickillo in March 2020, ostensibly in a cost-cutting move, which created a $1,097,500 dead-money liability on Pittsburgh’s 2020 salary cap.

Chickillo was drafted by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 2015 draft (No. 212 overall, University of Miami) and played in 65 games over the course of his five years in Pittsburgh. Most of his production came on special teams, but on defense he produced a total of 97 tackles, 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumbles recovered.

Chickillo signed a one-year contract with the New Orleans Saints in May 2020, but the Saints released him in early September, paving the way for him to join the Broncos. He has recorded 10 tackles (seven solo), with one sack and one pass defensed this season.

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