With the excitement of the regular season approaching comes the reality that the 53-man roster needs to be set, and that meant a lot of roster moves for the Steelers.
The team made all of the moves official on Saturday, ahead of the 4 p.m. deadline.
Among the cuts are two 2019 draft picks, sixth rounder Sutton Smith and seventh rounder Derwin Grey, as well as Marcus Allen, a fifth-round pick in 2018. The team also released veteran receiver Eli Rogers.
On offense the team released quarterback Devlin Hodges, running backs Trey Edmunds, Travon McMillian and Malik Williams, receivers Trey Griffey, Johnny Holton, Tevin Jones, Brandon Reilly, Eli Rogers and Diontae Spencer, and tight ends Micky Crum, Kevin Rader, Christian Scotland-Williamson and Trevor Wood. On the offensive line Garrett Brumfield, Derwin Gray, J.C. Hassanauer, Patrick Morris and Damian Prince were released.
Defensively the team let go of defensive backs Marcus Allen, Dravon Askew-Henry, Marcelis Branch, Jhvonte Dean, P.J. Locke and Trevon Mathis, linebackers Jayrone Elliott, Christian Kuntz, Tegray Scales, Sutton Smith and Robert Spillane, and defensive linemen Winston Craig, Greg Gilmore, Henry Mondeaux, Casey Sayles and Conor Sheehy.
In the battle for kicker and punter, the incumbents won out, with Matthew Wright and Ian Berryman both being released.
Earlier in the day the team traded offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Steelers also gave Tampa a seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and got Tampa's sixth-round pick in 2021 in return.
Take a look at the Steelers 53-man roster heading into Week 1 of the 2019 season
Coach Mike Tomlin said before the Carolina game that making moves is never easy, but it's a process that begins when the team plays their first preseason game and continues throughout, with it picking up even before the team landed back in Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
"As we walk off the field – it's that level of urgency, and I can't stress that point enough," said Tomlin during a weekly Q & A with Bob Labriola before the game. "We walk off the field, it's all eyes on our regular season opener and putting ourselves in position to do what we need to do there. In some form or fashion, it's almost instant in terms of thinking about the things that need to be done and the process in terms of meeting and having necessary discussions about getting the team cut down.
"Sometimes the most significant decisions don't transpire until very late in the process. Oftentimes, you'll see teams cut down to 55 or 56 guys quickly. Friday in most instances. And they'll save four or five significant spots, and those are the decisions that may require more discussion or maybe surveying options relative to other cities and so forth. But that doesn't transpire on Friday. The things that are discussion-worthy and have that level of complexity occur later in the weekend."
Teams can add 10 players to the practice squad beginning at 12 noon on Sunday.