The Pittsburgh Steelers released veteran offensive lineman Trai Essex on Friday and initially I thought he might be in for a quick turnaround and signed back to 53 man roster, but now I am thinking otherwise.
General Manager Kevin Colbert and the Steelers coaching staff appear to be high on rookie Kelvin Beachum, who they think can play left guard, left tackle and eventually center.
Colbert was asked Friday about the decision to keep Beachum on the 53 man roster. “His versatility to play tackle, guard, and some day he\’ll be able to play center as well, once he learns how to snap because of his intelligence,” said Colbert. “You love that versatility, especially when you\’re only carrying really eight active offensive linemen because David (DeCastro) will be an inactive player for as long as he\’s carried on the active roster.”
So with the Steelers likely to carry DeCastro, at least initially, on the 53 man roster, and not on the new 8 week injured reserve, Essex might not be back right away, if ever.
In addition, Ramon Foster showed his position flexibility during the preseason by being able to play right tackle in addition to right guard. This made Essex expendable on a roster that was hurting for spots due to all of the injured players being carried at the start of the season.
One other thing to consider is that by not having Essex on the 53 man roster for week one, his salary will not be fully guaranteed. There is always the possibility that he could be resigned once the DeCastro move to injured reserve is made, if it is made, but as it looks right now, Essex might not be around for at least a little while.
Had Essex showed during training camp and preseason that he could have played left tackle, his chances would have improved of making the roster. His play at right tackle during the preseason was also less than stellar, so that too led to his release.