It can be hard to see beyond the next season and figure out which players will no longer be part of the plan. Sometimes it’s pretty simple. Based on what the Pittsburgh Steelers did during the summer of 2023, it is hard to find enough reasons for some players to come back in 2024.
It’s clear that the attention is on the present. On paper, Pittsburgh is a better team, and Mike Tomlin wants to win a playoff game in 2023. But the way things are going, these three guys will definitely be leaving the Steelers after this season.
3. CB Levi Wallace
Levi Wallace probably breathed a sigh of relief when the team decided to cut Ahkello Witherspoon, but it was really three moves at the position that will make the experienced cornerback useless in 2024.
After Cameron Sutton left the Steelers for the Lions in free agency, the Steelers quickly made up for it by getting Patrick Peterson. Adding an older cornerback wasn’t enough to make Wallace’s job less secure in the future, but choosing two cornerbacks did.
Pittsburgh took cornerback Joey Porter Jr. with the 32nd pick in the NFL Draft and got a great deal with Cory Trice Jr. in the seventh round. Wallace’s deal, on the other hand, will end after the 2023 season. Unless something bad happens and both Porter and Trice don’t improve, there’s no reason for the Steelers to bring back a veteran who isn’t very good and whose deal has expired and who rarely plays special teams.
2. OG Kevin Dotson
Sometimes, there are players who just know what to say to the media. That person is not Kevin Dotson. In the past, his sometimes rude attitude and questionable comments have gotten him in trouble, and he’s already in a bad spot. When the Steelers signed free-agent guard Isaac Seumalo, Dotson gave up his starting job to him because Seumalo was getting more money.
Dotson has been a starter at left guard for two years and has the right size and strength for the job, but he could be gone very soon. During the summer of the 2023 season, Pittsburgh also signed Nate Herbig.
This means that Dotson is no longer fighting for a starting spot. Instead, he is just trying to stay on the team and get a helmet to wear during games. During his first three years with the Steelers, Dotson has had a lot of ups and downs. The highs have been great, but sometimes the lows have been very bad.
Now that he’s gone from being a starting to being buried on the Steelers depth chart, he probably won’t want to stay with the team past the 2023 season, and the team may feel the same way. Dotson is starting his last season with the team, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Steelers let him go in the middle of the year.
1. WR Allen Robinson
It doesn’t seem fair to say that a player is in his last season with the team when he was just traded and still has two years left on his deal. But his deal makes it easy to know what will happen to him in the future.
Allen Robinson was moved to the Steelers even though he still owed the Rams $5 million on the deal he signed with them. The Rams were eager to get out of this deal. Robinson has been hurt for the past two seasons, which has made it hard for him to do well.
But even if the senior really turn things around in Pittsburgh, he probably won’t be there after the 2023 season. According to the prediction from top bookies’ websites the likes bet on nfl games online, Robinson’s cap hit goes up to more than $11.9 million for the 2024 season. If the Steelers let him go in the summer, they could save $10 million right away.
That cap number is way too high for a receiver who will be 31 in 2024 and has had trouble staying fit. It’s too much money to give to a WR3 at best. The Steelers still have Calvin Austin III, who could play a part in 2023, and they may try to pick up a receiver early in the 2024 draft. Allen Robinson won’t be on the team at his cap number after the 2023 season.