OCTOBER 18: No trade partner emerged. The Steelers are moving on from the veteran corner via a release, ESPN.com’s Field Yates tweets. This situation came about due to King’s lack of playing time, The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly tweets. The Steelers are the second team to cut King in two months, with a Texans release sending him to Pittsburgh. With the trade deadline Oct. 31, vested veterans are not yet subject to waivers. King, 28, will head back into free agency.
OCTOBER 17: After joining the Steelers in August, it sounds like Desmond King won’t be sticking in Pittsburgh much longer. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that the Steelers plan to move on from the veteran cornerback.
After getting cut by the Texans at the end of the preseason, King quickly caught on with the Steelers. While the veteran was expected to provide some veteran depth to the secondary, he barely saw the field through the first month-plus. King has been limited to only three games this season, with only one of his 16 snaps coming on defense.
While the Steelers’ secondary has struggled this year, King clearly had a tough time climbing the depth chart. Chandon Sullivan emerged as the team’s primary nickelback opposite starters Patrick Peterson and Levi Wallace, with rookie second-round pick Joey Porter Jr. soaking up the remaining snaps at the position.
King, a former fifth-round pick, served as mostly a slot corner during his time with the Chargers, but he established himself as a starter on the outside during his two-year stint with the Texans. Between 2021 and 2022, King collected 182 tackles and five interceptions in 25 starts (33 total games). With 98 regular season games on his resume, a DB-needy team will surely come calling.
Pittsburgh isn’t just subtracting a cornerback from their roster. Instead, they’re replacing King with cornerback Darius Rush, who the Steelers are expected to sign off the Chiefs practice squad (per Pelissero). The rookie fifth-round pick was cut by the Colts at the end of the preseason but the Chiefs were quick to claim him off waivers. Kansas City later removed Rush from the active roster and signed him to the practice squad, a move that helped the Steelers to swoop in and snag him.