Steelers Cut Ex-Pro Bowl Starter After 1 Season: Report

Mike Tomlin

Getty The Steelers are moving on from linebacker Joe Schobert.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are moving on from one of their more notable starters.

According to Ari Meirov of Pro Football Focus, the Steelers are moving on from starting linebacker Joe Schobert after just season. Pittsburgh had acquired the 28-year-old veteran from the Jacksonville Jaguars via trade prior to the start of the 2021 season.

“The #Steelers are releasing veteran LB Joe Schobert, who they acquired before the start of last season,” says Meirov. “Move saves Pittsburgh $7.8M in cap room.”


Why Steelers Cut Schobert

Schobert ended up starting 15 of his 16 appearances, but he clearly struggled as the Steelers’ entire defensive unit struggled — ranked 20th — throughout the season.

According to PFF, Schobert posted a 52.2 overall defensive grade and a 48.3 run defense grade in 2021. Those numbers are pedestrian, but they’re actually better than several key Steelers linebackers, including Robert Spillane (46.3 defensive grade), Devin Bush (34.4 grade) and even newcomer Myles Jack (37.7).

While there are many factors for Schobert’s decline in play — including the Steelers’ overall defensive effort — the move was a needed one for cap purposes. Prior to his release, Schobert was due to be paid as the fifth-highest paid player on the Steelers.

The Steelers signed former Jaguars linebacker Jack on Wednesday, March 16 to a two-year, $16 million deal. The move came just hours following his release from Jacksonville.

Schobert has registered over 100 tackles in five of his six NFL seasons, including the past five consecutive years.

According to Spotrac, the Steelers now have nearly $23 million to play with in available cap space.

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Josh Allen Has High Praise for Trubisky

As Mitch Trubisky begins a new era of his career with the Steelers, one of his former teammates have high expectations for him.

Prior to the start of free agency, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler spoke to Josh Allen, the Buffalo Bills’ starting quarterback. Trubisky spent the 2021 season as Allen’s backup after starting the prior four seasons with the Chicago Bears.

Allen spoke of why Trubisky is a different player now compared to his four-season stint in Chicago, which saw him eventually wash out as a disappointing former No. 2 overall draft pick.

“Mitch has been through the ringer,” Allen said. “No. 2 pick, how he handled being a professional, coming into a situation where you never thought you’ll be in that situation, that’s not easy. But he handled it with such class.”

“The dude is an athlete,” said Allen. “I don’t think people really understand that. You give him leeway in an offense to have that mindset of, ‘See it, do it, we trust you.’ He’s going to kill it.”

At the onset of the legal tampering period of free agency on Monday, March 14, Trubisky agreed to a two-year deal worth up to $27 million in incentives.

Trubisky’s career in Chicago was a pedestrian one. The 27-year-old led the Bears to a couple of playoff berths, but he posted mediocre production during his stint. According to PFF, Trubisky never ranked higher than 28th in offensive grade among quarterbacks.

Luckily for Trubisky, he’s flanked by a solid supporting cast. The 2021 Steelers made it to the playoffs despite Ben Roethlisberger’s play. Roethlisberger posted a 55.8 offensive grade in 2021, the worst mark of any starting QB.

If Trubisky can prove to be a slightly better player than who he was in Chicago, the Steelers will be playoff contenders in 2022.

 

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