When it Comes to 2011 Steelers, Don’t Expect Cuts To Hurt

If you’re a Steelers nut, you’re probably quite fascinated to see who makes the 53-man roster and who ends up being told to turn in their playbook. So am I. It’s one of the more engrossing weekends of the season.

But here’s a little secret. Who ends up earning the final roster spot or two isn’t really something to get too worked up over. If past history is a guide, the Steelers didn’t cut anyone who will make them significantly regret their decision.

Take a look at the most significant cuts over the past five years.

(Note: the 2011 cuts were just announced and I added them below, primarily for discussion’s sake. – Ryan)

(UPDATED, 4:50 p.m.) 2011 Cuts
Tony Hills
Crezdon Butler
Jeremy Kapinos
John Gilmore
Jarret Crittenton

2010 Cuts
Joe Burnett
Stefan Logan
Kraig Urbik
Sunny Harris

2009 Cuts
Isaac Redman
Roy Lewis
Anthony Madison
Bruce Davis

2008 Cuts
Mike Humphal
Ryan Mundy
Doug Legursky
Willie Reid
Ryan McBean

2007 Cuts
Chukki Okobi
John Kuhn
Anthony Madison
Ryan McBean

2006 Cuts
Orien Harris
John Kuhn
Cedric Humes

Now there are a couple of players on that list who did end up latching on with other teams. Kuhn has stuck on the Packers roster for four years, but he has a grand total of 327 yards, so it’s hard to say he’s been an impact player.

McBean has played 30 games in the past two seasons for the defensive linemen starved Broncos, but he’s been serviceable at best. It’s hard to say that he would have even made the Steelers roster in either of those two years.

Roy Lewis has played as a backup defensive back for the Seahawks in the past two years, but again, it’s hard to say he would have even made the Steelers’ roster. With the cornerback injuries the Giants have had, Joe Burnett may make their roster, but again, he’s a fringy player at best.

Amazingly, Kraig Urbik may be the best player the Steelers have given up in recent years. He’s the starting right guard for the Bills. Now the Bills have one of the worst offensive lines in the league, but he is an NFL starter, and if he had been in Pittsburgh this year, he likely would have been in the competition for the right guard job. But even in Urbik’s case, it’s hard to say he’s better than the guys the Steelers have on the roster this year.

And if you notice, there are several names on that list who will play significant roles for the Steelers this year. Ryan Mundy, Doug Legursky and Issac Redman are valuable Steelers now, but at one point, they were all dumped and then managed to make it through waivers.

When it comes to making roster evaluations, the Steelers have a pretty good record of figuring out who to keep and who to cut. And when you get down to the final two or three roster spots, the reality is that few of those players are going to end up being more than role players, so while it’s important, it’s also unlikely to be the difference between the Steelers making another Super Bowl or missing out.

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  • Cols714

    Yep. We always obsess over the roster and worry about someone being picked up by another team. This is why we shouldn’t.

  • Anonymous

    Losing Redman would have been a loss, but fortunately they were able to hold on to him despite the cut. Stefan Logan is a quality returner, and I’m sure the Steelers would have liked to have him around, but that wasn’t really a missed opportunity. They knew what he was and just couldn’t afford the spot.

  • hoffstra323

    I am curious to see if Hills latches on as a tackle somewhere. I will be rooting for him. Seems like crezdon butler got the short end of the stick. Curtis brown has looked far from impressive and keenan ivory lewis will never be the man in pittsburgh. all hopes for a good corner seem to rest on the shoulders from the young man out of the citadel, but its still to early to tell on the rookies. Glad to see we kept wesley Saunders.

  • http://www.facebook.com/caseyjadams Casey Adams

    I’d say Kuhn, despite his yardage, has been excellent for GB. 

    • JJ Cooper

      Excellent seems strong. Adequate? He’s a decent blocker, but not a Pro Bowl caliber blocker. As a runner, it’s hard to say anyone with a 3.2 yards per carry average is anything better than adequate. More importantly, considering the Steelers’ use of fullbacks, would he make the 2011 roster?

      • http://profiles.google.com/drobviousso Casey Kretschman

        I agree.  I’ve watched a lot of GB, living in Minnesota.  Kuhn is in the ideal offense for his type, and he… just ok.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Something like 10 of the 17 guys listed through 2010 have later made useful contributions to an NFL team. That’s more than I would have expected. It speaks to our depth that they couldn’t stick with us, at least initially. If that average holds for this year, 3 of the 5 guys we just cut will be useful NFL players.

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