Vince Williams

Steelers LB Vince Williams Announces Retirement

Vince Williams is calling it a career. The Steelers linebacker announced his retirement today, per an announcement from the organization.

“Vince Williams notified us today that he will retire from the game of football,” said Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert. “We respect his decision and want to thank him for his time with us as he consistently showed great character and leadership in addition to his contributions on the field. We wish Vince and his family all the best.”

The 2013 sixth-round pick spent his entire career in Pittsburgh, appearing in 121 games. Williams will retire having collected 479 tackles, 50 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks, and 45 QB hits, a mark that ranks 11th in franchise history. The linebacker also saw time in eight playoff games for the Steelers, collecting 26 tackles.

The 31-year-old continued to produce in 2020, compiling 70 tackles, three sacks, and a career-high 14 tackles for loss in 14 starts. The organization cut the veteran early in the offseason, saving the team $4MM against the cap. Williams later re-signed with the team, inking a one-year deal worth just over $1MM.

Williams was likely going to find himself behind Devin Bush and Robert Spillane at middle linebacker (per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic on Twitter), but he was still going to see plenty of playing time. With the veteran out of the picture, the team could now turn to the likes of Buddy Johnson or Ulysees Gilbert.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Mahomes, Turay, Steelers

It never appeared too serious, but anytime one of the faces of the league has surgery, it’s a big deal. Patrick Mahomes had a bad case of turf toe that hobbled him down the stretch, and he had surgery just after the Super Bowl. Speaking to the media recently, the Chiefs star provided an update on his health, and thankfully it sounds like everything is going smoothly. “I think I’m ahead of schedule myself,” Mahomes said, via Adam Teicher of ESPN.com. At the same time he made it clear they aren’t going to rush anything. “Obviously, we’re trying to be cautious. We’re not pushing me out there too soon. But I’m doing what I can. I’ve gotten out of the boot finally. It took forever. Now I’m trying to get back on the field and get that stuff working,” he explained.

I’m sure they’ll keep me on that same pathway and that hopefully I can do some stuff by the end of the offseason.” Whether or not he makes it back for offseason work in June, the Chiefs are apparently hoping to have him be a full-go for training camp in July.

Here’s more from around the AFC on a quiet Sunday night:

  • Speaking of surgeries, Kemoko Turay had another one. The Colts edge rusher underwent another procedure on his ankle after the season, GM Chris Ballard said this week, via Zak Keefer of The Athletic (Twitter link). “He was never quite right all year,” Ballard said. It’s a somewhat concerning acknowledgement, considering Turray was sidelined from October of 2019 until November of 2020 after breaking his ankle. His initial recovery took a long time, and it sounds like it never went according to plan. The 52nd overall pick of the 2018 draft flashed potential as a rookie with four sacks, but he only had one in seven games this past year. Indy is desperate for pass-rush off the edge so Turray could be a big contributor if he can stay healthy, but his 2021 isn’t off to a great start.
  • The Steelers cut linebacker Vince Williams in March, then re-signed him about a month later. We heard at the time he rebuffed other offers to return to Pittsburgh, and it sounds like he may have turned down more money. That’s because Williams’ new deal with the Steelers is only for the veteran’s minimum of $1.075MM, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic tweets. Financial terms previously hadn’t been disclosed. Williams had signed a three-year, $18.6MM extension back in 2018 before getting cut with a year remaining on that deal, so he’s taking a pretty significant pay-cut in 2021. The 2013 sixth-round pick started all 14 games that he appeared in last year, racking up 70 tackles and three sacks.

Steelers Re-Sign Vince Williams

The Steelers have agreed to re-sign Vince Williams (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler). The linebacker had other offers, Fowler hears, but he ultimately chose to stay in Pittsburgh. 

The Steelers cut Williams earlier this year to save $4MM against the salary cap. It wasn’t an easy call for Kevin Colbert & Co., as Williams had spent his entire eight-year career in black and gold.

After entering the league as a sixth-round pick in 2013, Williams spent the early part of his career as a part-timer. But, for the last four years, he’s served as a starter. In 2020 ,he appeared in 14 games (all starts), racking up 70 tackles, 14 for a loss, and three sacks. His most noteworthy season came in 2017, when he notched eight sacks despite lining up as an inside linebacker.

The remainder of Williams’ last deal — a three-year extension worth $18.6MM — was too rich for the Steelers’ blood, but he managed to find middle ground with management. Now, he’ll look to add to his career tallies of 479 tackles and 20.5 sacks while staying with the only team he’s ever known.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers To Release Vince Williams

The Steelers are staying busy on Tuesday, releasing a long-time defensive player. Pittsburgh is cutting linebacker Vince Williams, sources told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

As Fowler notes, the move will save the Steelers about $4MM in cap space. The Steelers drafted Williams in the sixth-round back in 2013, and he spent the past eight seasons with the team. In August of 2018 he signed a three-year extension worth $18.6MM. Not bad for a former 206th overall pick.

Williams was a part-time player earlier in his career, but has been a starter the past four seasons. This past year he appeared in 14 games, all starts, racking up 70 tackles, 14 for a loss, and three sacks. In 2017 he had eight sacks despite being an inside linebacker.

The Florida State product will now hit free agency for the first time at the age of 31. He should get picked up by a team in need of linebacking help before too long.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/23/20

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/10/20

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: RB A.J. Dillon; Dillon had been on the Packers’ virus list since testing positive Nov. 2

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Rams

  • Promoted: K Austin MacGinnis

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers Activate QB Ben Roethlisberger, Three Others

Following a brief stint on the COVID-19 reserve list, Ben Roethlisberger will be under center tomorrow against the Bengals. The Steelers announced that they’ve activated their quarterback from the COVID-19 list. The team also activated offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins, running back Jaylen Samuels, and linebacker Vince Williams.

The four players didn’t test positive, but they were close contacts of tight end Vance McDonald, who had a positive test earlier this week. As a result, these players had to isolate for several days and test negative before rejoining the squad.

“I’m doing good,” Roethlisberger said (via Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette on Twitter). “I feel great. If my body enjoyed the week off, my mind teaching pre-kindergarten did not enjoy the week off. It’s fun to be home, but I definitely missed the guys.”

Naturally, the team is now making up for lost time in their preparation for Cincinnati. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that Roethlisberger was expected to participate in the Steelers walkthrough this morning, with the team hoping to get their veteran quarterback some extra time on the practice field.

After being limited to only a pair of games in 2019, the 38-year-old has played a major role in the Steelers undefeated record in 2020. Roethlisberger has completed 68.1-percent of his passes (a mark that would be a career high) for 1,934 yards, 18 touchdowns, and four interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Place Ben Roethlisberger On COVID-19 List

The Steelers have placed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on the COVID-19 reserve list, per a club announcement. Running back Jaylen Samuels, offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins, and linebacker Vince Williams have also been added to the list. 

The news comes just hours after tight end Vance McDonald was parked with the same designation. Per league rules, each Steelers player will have to isolate for several days and test negative before rejoining the team.

Roethlisberger is not believed to have tested positive. Instead, he was deemed a high-risk, close contact, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Depending on what happens from here, the QB may have a chance to start on Sunday against the Bengals.

Meanwhile, Big Ben is hoping to heal up from double knee injuries suffered against the Cowboys. Despite that setback, Roethlisberger and the Steelers won 24-19 and advanced to 8-0 on the year.

AFC North Notes: Ravens, Mosley, Steelers

Here’s a quick look at the AFC North:

  • The Jets landed linebacker C.J. Mosley in free agency, but the Ravens went as high as $14MM/year to keep him in Baltimore, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB (Twitter link). Mosley’s new Jets deal, meanwhile, will pay him an average of $17MM/year with $51MM guaranteed.
  • The Steelers restructured the contract of inside linebacker Vince Williams, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The move clears $2.8MM in 2019 cap space for Pittsburgh, but Williams is still due $5.1MM for the coming year. Just last summer, Williams re-upped with the Steelers on a three-year add-on worth upwards of $20MM. In 2018, Williams finished out with 4.5 sacks, 76 tackles, and one interception.
  • Former Jaguars tight end James O’Shaughnessy visited the Steelers this week, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The Steelers recently lost Jesse James in free agency, so O’Shaughnessy could be a depth option behind starter Vance McDonald. O’Shaughnessy, 27, set new career highs with 24 catches for 214 yards last season. He still only has one touchdown catch in his four NFL seasons, a 2017 TD against the 49ers.

Steelers Sign Vince Williams To Extension

The Steelers have signed linebacker Vince Williams to a new three-year extension, the team announced. The new pact, which will keep Williams under contract through the 2021 season, is a three-year add-on worth more than $20MM, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

I feel like the Rooney family gave me an opportunity to play professional football,” Williams said in a statement released by the team. “It’s a great culture here. A great fan base. I take pride in being in Pittsburgh. It’s a hard-nosed group of individuals who work here. I feel like the people here are no nonsense, hard-working individuals. They are proud people too. I love this place.”

Last year, Williams set a single-season career high with eight sacks last season, second only on the team to Cameron Heyward. The former sixth-round pick started in all 16 games and finished out with 88 tackles in total.

It’s possible that Williams’ loyalty to the Steelers has cost him some serious free agent upside. After compiling eight sacks, the linebacker would have sailed past $6MM/year on the open market with a repeat performance. Still, he does gain financial security through the extension, and that has value in a violent sport.

It has been a busy day for the Steelers. Minutes before announcing Williams’ extension, they also signed kicker Chris Boswell to a new four-year extension.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.