Updated: Mar 21, 2021
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
With around just $1 million in salary cap space, the Steelers have made a cap casualty by releasing veteran inside linebacker Vince Williams, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. The writing was on the wall when Williams cryptically tweeted last night "I can hear the streets calling."
Williams started 69 of 121 games with the Steelers since being drafted in the sixth-round in 2013. In his eight years with the Steelers, Williams recorded 479 total tackles, 333 of them being solos, 50 tackles for losses, 20.5 sacks, 45 quarterback hits, five fumble recoveries, five passes defended and two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six. The move saves the Steelers $4 million in cap space, but it leaves the team with a little over $3 million in dead money.
The Steelers didn't have much linebacker depth prior to releasing Williams, and it now appears that 2019 first-round pick Devin Bush and Robert Spillane will be the starters heading into the 2021 season. I wonder if the Steelers asked Williams to take a pay cut or they just flat-out cut him.
The Steelers surely now will have to find a cheap free agent option or select another inside linebacker in the draft.
Williams was one of the leaders in the locker room and will surely be missed on and off the field. Given the Steelers tight cap situation, they had to make a tough business decision and let go of a well-respected veteran.
Williams told Fowler on Tuesday that his release has been in the works for a few days. Williams said he has a lot of football left and is eager to provide veteran leadership and play for a team that needs it.