Steelers Sign OG/C Cody Wallace; Waive John Malecki

By Matthew Marczi

After submitting their first ‘final’ 53-man roster yesterday, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced today that they have claimed interior offensive lineman Cody Wallace after being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In order to make room for him on the roster, the Steelers released John Malecki.

Wallace, a former 2008 draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round, has spent most of his career on various practice squads. He saw action in eight games for the Buccaneers last year, primarily on special teams. He saw 15 snaps on offense.

Malecki, a former undrafted player in 2010, has spent most of his career on the Steelers’ practice squad, and appeared finally to stick on a roster after making the cut with Pittsburgh this year. He was promoted to the active roster following a series of injuries for the 2012 season finale, and played about half the game against the Cleveleand Browns.

Whether or not this move is an upgrade in any meaningful sense is yet to be determined. Our eyes at Steelers Depot saw an improved John Malecki during this season, and seemed clearly entrenched as a game day inactive after having a strong preseason.

For what it is worth, Pro Football Focus graded Malecki’s preseason performance with a 5.1 rating, split between guard and center. He gave up one sack and two hurries in 101 snaps in pass protection, and earned a run blocking grade of 1.6 in 57 snaps.

Cody Wallace was rated at -4.9 overall in 175 snaps at guard and center. He gave up just two hurries in 90 snaps in pass protection, but he earned an abysmal -6.4 grade as a run blocker in 85 snaps.

We will likely take a closer look at Wallace and his preseason performance later this week, but as of right now, this appears to be a lateral move at best, if not a step backward.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • steeltown

    confusing… maybe there’s something we don’t know

  • Jason Brant

    That’s what I’m thinking.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Maybe we feel Wallace is more versatile plus maybe he will work better in a zone blocking scheme or maybe we felt empty without having a Wallace on the roster this year.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I had a feeling we may do some OL movement before the start of the season but it wasn’t this position. I’m always putting close to the hole but never get it in the cup.

  • Mike.H

    Dave: When is the lock town date for a player on the roster whose salary is fully guaranteed? at first game kick off or the 53 man roster announcement date past Saturday?

  • Matt Manzo

    This is lame too! I’m starting to get pissed! All the guys we’ve been watching and rooting for and hoping to finally make a difference are gone! The FO better be seeing something we can’t. I loved having those guys in the team who busted ass for years and moved up the right way!

  • T R

    Damn Arizona.. Claimed Alameda Taaumu.. Shoot, i was hoping we was stashing him to get him back.. Lawd All Bruce Arianas do is wait for us to release so he can grab. How mendenhall doing LOL

  • TJimmy

    They must know something we don’t know. It’s as simple as that.

  • gene mann

    It was shocking to see that Mcfadden cut and not added to PS,but again us as fans see only certain things while the coaches know more

  • Matthew Marczi

    That’s what I’m hoping.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I might be pushing it but it seem to be a financial decision. It was my understanding that normally when you sign a veteran to second contract (Malecki in this situation) you have to put up some guaranteed money for performance and it was likely that Malecki would have outplayed his contract and we’d had cut himanyway by end of season.

    While it doesn’t make any sense for Cody Wallace considering we literally gave him a second contract but I suspect somewhere along the contract there’s “less to none” guaranteed money. I mean we are looking at… maybe just hundred thousands of difference or less. Like Matthew wrote, this doesn’t seme to be an improvement but it is very possible that we are TRYING to be this cheap.

    You don’t let your 4th round nose tackle go especially when he did sufficient compared to Fangupo, and yet we did. I’m assuming it is a financial decision, I wouldn’t be any less wrong if it wasn’t though.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Hard to say. I hope we are not that cheap but maybe we have a few contracts we are trying to get done and need a lil xtra cash

  • Matthew Marczi

    I don’t know exactly what they are on the hook to pay Wallace, but it almost assuredly is not less than Malecki. Wallace has been in the league since 2008, Malecki since 2010. Wallace was a 4th rounder and has been on active rosters more. Malecki was undrafted and was only on an active roster for a few games at the end of last season, and only played in one. Malecki would still have been an exclusive rights free agent next year. According to a brief bit of research though, Wallace’s cap hit for the Bucs this year would’ve been $630K, with $585K as his base salary. That’s definitely more than Malecki.

  • gene mann

    Could the Coachs just like the guy better than Malecki

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Although Ta’amu was a 4th round pick, the Steelers cut him after his incident last year and resigned him top the practice squad. He would have been on this year’s team as a min level player and wouldn’t have been cut for financial reasons.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    This guy was a better prospect than Doug Legursky coming out of the 2008 draft. Maybe he hasn’t put it together yet, but obviously there’s gotta be some talent there.

  • 2443scott

    prob a special teams add on to help there plus he can be a extra lineman and center to but i believe he was picked for the special teams mostly

  • Annon

    OK, I know nothing about Wallace, but his rating from PFF is not reassuring. Let’s assume he’s an upgrade. Why did they release Malecki & keep Guy Whimper? Malecki was better & had position flexibility.

  • george

    For Malecki, That has to suck. Thinking he made the team and getting cut the next day.


    this is a complete and utter head-scratcher, been around for 5 years, hardly played a snap in anger, 28 years old, errrr

  • joed32

    He was also #4 on the depth chart behind McClendon, Woods and Fangupo who outplayed him last Thursday particularly in that goal line stand. He was OK but you only need to carry so many.

  • joed32

    He doesn’t play Tackle.

  • steeltown

    Malecki was an exclusive rights FA next year, no way he’s cheaper than Cody Wallace, this year or next

  • steeltown

    Indeed, I’ve been rooting for Malecki the last 2yrs

  • JohnnyV1

    Yes, puzzling this one. Malecki appeared to play pretty well, and they knew him. Now you get a guy you don’t know, w/o much tape b/c he hasn’t played much.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Hmm! That was my initial thinking but at least allocated earning for Wallace might just be more justified compared to Malecki for performance guaranteed money. For O-linemen performance payment is different, they probably want a back-up to be that as much of better player than Malecki who will make the price for bang.

    Again, this move appear to be not any improvement, so.. I got to assume it was somewhat of a financial decision.

  • Jeff Johnson

    How is it confusing? We all knew that Colbert and Tomlin were going to keep an eye on the waiver wire and possibly bring in another player released by another team and we all knew that they would have to release one player in order to do that. Many of us were talking about bringing in better backups at the o-line than what they have. I am surprised that they did not release Whimper instead but they must like him

  • RedCarpetDefense

    Neither does Whimper…LOL

  • Christopher Wilkes

    What gives you that impression?

  • Annon

    If they lost a Tackle, Foster would slide over & Beachum/Malecki would play Guard. Whimper playing T is scary.

  • Gautama Om

    Cody Wallace was a high 4th rounder (7th in the 4th round) while Malecki was UDFA out of college.

    In college Wallace was a Rimington Trophy finalist, an award given to the best OC in college.

    Someone else here also mentioned he’s had plenty of experience on previous teams in the ZBS (e.g. Houston Texans).

    Wallace is a true OC while Malecki is a Dlineman converted to OG and recently OC who is UNTESTED against opposing DL starters at OC(same with Beachum). Obviously a negative indicator for the backup OC’s. This one is the biggest reason amongst the 4 reasons.

    Not surprised at all.