Steelers Waive Former Kentucky Linebacker: Report

Jamar Watson

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Jamar Watson of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on prior to the preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on August 12, 2021.

According to ESPN senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler, the Pittsburgh Steelers have released outside linebacker Jamar Watson, who wore No. 50 while with the team.

The Steelers originally signed Watson—an undrafted free agent out of the University of Kentucky—in early May. He played in 49 games (with 29 starts) for the Wildcats and recorded 107 tackles, 18.5 sacks, 28.5 tackles for loss, 14 quarterback hurries, five forced fumbles, four passes defensed, one interception and one fumble recovery during the course of his college career.

Watson received extra reps in training camp thanks to the ongoing T.J. Watt “hold-in,” but it wasn’t enough for him to move ahead of veteran Cassius Marsh and rookie sixth-round pick Quincy Roche, who remain the second- and third-teamers behind Watt at left outside linebacker.

Salary Cap Implications of Releasing Jamar Watson

According to, Watson received a $15,000 signing bonus when he agreed to join the Steelers. His release means there will be a $5,000 ‘dead money’ charge on Pittsburgh’s 2021 salary cap, with the remainder of the $15,000 counting against the team’s cap next year.

Also per, he received the third-largest signing bonus of any of this year’s undrafted free agents, behind Donovan Stiner ($25,000) and cornerback Mark Gilbert ($18,000).

Previous 2021 Roster Cuts

The Steelers have already cut a total of 20 players en route to getting down to the league-mandated total of 53, a process that must be completed by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

On Saturday Aug. 28 the team jettisoned wide receiver/kick returner Mathew Sexton, as well as eight other players, those being:

Ex-Washington, Ohio State tight end Marcus Baugh
Former Atlanta Falcons running back Tony Brooks-James
Undrafted free agent cornerback Shakur Brown
Former Kentucky defensive tackle T.J. Carter
Undrafted free agent wide receiver Anthony Johnson
Former Buffalo Bills cornerback Lafayette Pitts
Ex-Ohio State offensive guard Malcolm Pridgeon
Safety Lamont Wade

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Prior to that, the Steelers released five players on Aug. 17, followed by another five on Aug. 24. The Aug. 17 cuts were headlined by former Bears seventh-round draft pick Stephen Denmark, who has since signed with the Green Bay Packers. The Aug. 24 cuts included 2020 sixth-round draft pick Antoine Brooks Jr., who was waived/injured, despite entering training camp as the No. 1 most likely option to replace Mike Hilton at slot cornerback.

Making further cuts gets tougher from here, as Watson was the last fourth-stringer on the team’s defensive depth chart. The remaining fourth-stringers on offense are quarterback Joshua Dobbs, tailback Jaylen Samuels and tight end Kevin Rader. Meanwhile, Kalen Ballage is listed as the team’s fifth tailback, which doesn’t augur well for his chances of making the team, despite making a very positive impression early in training camp.

It may also be worth noting that as of this moment, Jordan Berry is still listed as the first-string punter, ahead of rookie seventh-round pick Pressley Harvin III.

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