The Pittsburgh Steelers cut eight players Sunday, three more on Tuesday and made several injury-related moves, including placing tight end Ladarius Green on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. These moves reduced the Steelers' roster to an NFL-mandated 75 players. Here's a closer look at the first cuts:
Most significant move: Green's move to the PUP list isn't unexpected, but that $4.75 million signing bonus given to Green back in March is looking more and more like empty cash until proved otherwise. It's hard to believe the team signed Green to a four-year deal knowing he'd miss the first two months of the season due to offseason ankle surgery. And that's not taking into consideration the NFL Network report of recurring headaches for Green, who suffered multiple concussions while with the San Diego Chargers. The post-Heath Miller era at tight end is off to a rough start.
Uncertainty at third QB: Dustin Vaughan (waived/injured) was a candidate for the third quarterback job before going down with a throwing hand injury. This leaves uncertainty at that spot. Fill-in Bryn Renner doesn't seem like the answer, and veteran Bruce Gradkowski still is out with a hamstring tear. Landry Jones' value just increased.
Small receiver room: The release of Levi Norwood, who was a smooth route-runner in camp but never had a role, all but ensures the Steelers will carry five wide receivers on the 53-man roster, six max. The wild card is rookie Demarcus Ayers. The Steelers like his quickness as a punt returner, but slot receiver Eli Rogers is holding down that role.
Steelers' moves: TE Ladarius Green (PUP list), OT Jerald Hawkins (reserve/injured), QB Dustin Vaughan (waived/injured), LB Jordan Zumwalt, LB Mike Reilly, WR Issac Blakeney, WR Levi Norwood, TE Michael Cooper, DE Giorgio Newberry, DT Khaynin Mosley-Smith, CB Julian Whigham, S Jacob Hagen, DT Devaunte Sigler, CB Kevin White (waived).