On Friday the Denver Broncos designated former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Mark Barron for return from the team’s injured reserve list, as per today’s NFL workouts and visits report. Denver now has three weeks before it must place Barron on its active roster; otherwise he must remain on IR for the remainder of the season.
Suffice to say, things haven’t gone as Denver planned when it worked out Barron in late August and subsequently signed him to a one-year contract to bolster the team’s already thin linebacker corps. In fact, he has yet to play a single snap for the Broncos.
Shortly after signing his one-year deal he suffered a hamstring injury, so he was inactive for Pittsburgh’s 26-21 win over Denver in Week 2. Before he could fully recover from the hamstring issue, he suffered a pectoral injury, which has further delayed his return.
However, his Broncos debut may not be imminent; on Friday the lead writer for denverbroncos.com reported that Barron wasn’t practicing with the team, only working on a side field.
Mark Barron’s NFL Journey
Barron signed a two-year $12 million contract with the Steelers in March 2019. He went on to play in 15 games (nine starts) with Pittsburgh last season, recording 82 tackles, along with three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.
But the Steelers released him on March 16 of this year in an effort to realize salary cap savings, making him the team’s biggest ‘dead money’ liability for 2020, counting $2.875 million against the team’s salary cap. That’s approximately a million dollars more than former Steelers wide receiver Donte Moncrief, who recently signed on to the practice squad of the New England Patriots after a failed audition with the winless New York Jets.
Barron is a former first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who made him the seventh player selected in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Barron played for the Buccaneers through 2014, when he moved on to the then-St. Louis Rams. After leaving Pittsburgh, he remained unemployed until signing with the Broncos just before the start of the season.
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 Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, a 13-3 loss to the Patriots.
Anthony Chickillo’s Broncos Season
Notably, Denver also has another former Pittsburgh linebacker on its roster, that being Anthony Chickillo, who was signed in mid-September. Chickillo has recorded eight tackles (six solo) with one sack this season.
Like Barron, Chickillo had trouble finding a new NFL home after getting released by the Steelers in March. The New Orleans Saints signed Chickillo to a one-year contract in May, but the Saints released him in September before he rejoined the team via the practice squad.
The Broncos went on to sign Chickillo off of the New Orleans Saints practice squad.
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