The Pittsburgh Steelers are cleaning house today. They have released OT Chukwuma Okorafor, P Pressley Harvin, and QB Mitch Trubisky. The team made the announcement in a press release Monday afternoon.
Trubisky’s release was reported shortly before the team offered official word. His release was expected, benched at the end of 2023 as he struggled to take care of the football.
Okorafor’s release was also anticipated. Due a roster bonus this March the Steelers had no chance to pick up. The team’s third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Okorafor started 59 games for the team, including every single one in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. But he was benched mid-way through 2023, reportedly for something he said during the team’s Week 8 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars that put him in Mike Tomlin’s doghouse. Rookie Broderick Jones took over at right tackle and didn’t look back as the Steelers found traction on the ground. Okorafor only played a handful of snaps the rest of the season.
Okorafor was set to earn $8.75 million in 2024 with a mid-March roster bonus due of $4 million. With his release, he will incur a $3.083 million dead money cap charge.
Harvin was drafted by the Steelers in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Beating out incumbent Jordan Berry, Harvin has served as the team’s punter for the last three years. But his struggles continued throughout his career, and he waned down the stretch of 2023, routinely criticized by Mike Tomlin for junior varsity play. Harvin finished this season with a 43.8-yard average, a poor number and nearly a yard worse than a season ago.
Among qualified punters, Harvin’s gross average ranked 32nd out of 33 punters. His net average was 33rd.
Harvin’s release will create just a small amount of dead money, a little over $20,000.
Pittsburgh will receive serious cap relief with the Trubisky and Okorafor signings. According to Dave Bryan, these releases clear $12.748 million of cap space prior to roster displacement, which will bring that savings figure down a bit.
Post-displacement, these moves will save the team just over $10.1 million.
Three players clearly not in the Steelers’ plans, being released now will allow all three a chance to get a jump on free agency when it officially opens up in mid-March. The team still has to make a decision on WR Allen Robinson III, whose contract is untenable to keep in its current form. The fact he survived today’s wave of cuts could indicate the Steelers’ desire to re-work his deal and bring him back on a significant pay cut.