Steelers Lose Another Linebacker to the Titans

Ola Adeniyi

Al Bello/Getty Images Daniel Jones #8 of the New York Giants is sacked by Ola Adeniyi #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 14, 2020.

Last week the Pittsburgh Steelers lost outside linebacker Bud Dupree to the Tennessee Titans when the former first-round pick signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with Pittsburgh’s former AFC Central rival. On Monday another free agent Steelers linebacker joined the Titans, when Ola Adeniyi agreed to terms with Tennessee.

Dupree and Adeniyi have been reunited with several former teammates, as Tennessee’s roster also includes former Steelers cornerback Breon Borders, who earned a starting role with the Titans last season and played well in five starts before getting hurt and going on injured reserve. The Titans also have former Steelers “camp phenom” Tuzar Skipper, who spent last season on Tennessee’s practice squad after getting waived by the Steelers. Skipper has since signed a Reserve/Future contract with the Titans for 2021.

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Ola Adeniyi’s Steelers Career

Adeniyi (6-foot-1, 248 pounds) entered the NFL in 2018 when the Steelers added him as an undrafted free agent following the 2018 NFL Draft. He has appeared in 32 games over the past three seasons, with one start. Adeniyi, 23, has been credited with 25 total tackles (16 solo) and three forced fumbles during his career.

He spent much of the 2018 season on the injured reserve list with a hamstring injury.

At Toledo, Adeniyi recorded 118 total tackles and 12.5 sacks in 29 career games with the Rockets. His best collegiate season came in 2017, when he accounted for 66 tackles (including 20 tackles for loss) plus 8.5 sacks.

Adeniyi was a 2021 restricted free agent but the Steelers elected not to tender him, making him an unrestricted free agent. In 2020 he earned a $750,000 salary and his cap charge was $755,000, this according to

Pittsburgh’s other restricted free agent—wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III—was not tendered either, but the Steelers re-signed him for a lower cost than the lowest tender (which is $2.133 million).

Ramon Foster is Encouraging Other Steelers to Join the Titans

Meanwhile, former Steelers offensive lineman Ramon Foster—who co-hosts a morning sports talk radio show on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville—has been lobbying for other Steelers—or soon to be ex-Steelers—to join the Titans.

That includes inside linebacker Vince Williams, who had his Steelers contract terminated by the team last week.

That also includes Steelers starting cornerback Steven Nelson, who has been given permission to pursue a trade, as the Steelers have apparently determined that they can’t afford to keep him thru the final year of his contract thanks to salary cap constraints. Nelson has the fourth-highest salary cap hit on the team this season at $14.42 million, behind QB Ben Roethlisberger, CB Joe Haden and defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt.

If the Steelers trade or release Nelson, that will save $8.25 million in salary, but it will also trigger a ‘dead money’ cap hit of $6.17 million for 2021, adding to a fast-growing pile of dead money that the Steelers will be absorbing this year, thanks to the retirements of center Maurkice Pouncey and tight end Vance McDonald, as well as the $3,031,668 cap hit triggered by the release of Williams.

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