The Steelers have released tight end Ladarius Green. In a related move, Pittsburgh signed running back Terrell Watson.
Pittsburgh signed Green as a free agent last offseason with the idea that he would become one of Ben Roethlisberger‘s go-to weapons. Instead, ailments kept him off the field for much of 2016. His Steelers career ends after six games and 18 receptions for 304 yards and a touchdown. His best game with the Steelers came against the Giants in Week 13, when he had six receptions for 110 yards and his one score on the year.
In the past, Green has suffered from chronic headaches. Those headaches, he says, stemmed from sinus issues and not concussions. Last summer, there were reports that he was mulling retirement as a result of the head trauma he has suffered, but he later denied those claims. Late in the 2016 regular season, the tight end was placed in concussion protocol following a big hit in Week 15. Depending on who you ask, it was either the concussions or the surgically-repaired ankle that kept Green out of action for much of last season.
Before coming to the Steelers, Green amassed 37 catches for 429 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games (11 starts), a solid stat line considering that he was sharing the field with Antonio Gates in many of those games. From a talent perspective, the league had been waiting for multiple seasons for the ultra-athletic tight end to break out. Sadly, Green’s football future seems pretty murky after his disappointing season and today’s release.
With Green out of the picture, Jesse James projects as the Steelers’ No. 1 tight end for 2017. The Steelers did not address the position in the draft, so he is without any real competition at this time.
Green earned just over $6MM in the first year of his would-be four-year, $20MM deal. By cutting him early, the Steelers are left with $3.562MM of dead money on the books. They’ll save $2.625MM in 2017, however.
Watson spent part of the 2016 season on the Browns, Broncos and Eagles practice squads. He was on the Eagles’ 53-man roster for the final week of the regular season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.