Justin Gilbert Released by Steelers: Latest Comments and Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2017

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 02: Cornerback Justin Gilbert #24 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the sideline during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field on October 2, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Chiefs 43-14. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
George Gojkovich/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Monday they released cornerback Justin Gilbert.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that Gilbert cleared waivers and became a free agent.

Gilbert was in his first season with the Steelers after spending his first two years with the Cleveland Browns, who selected him eighth overall in the 2014 NFL draft.

ESPN's Adam Caplan noted Monday was the first day NFL teams, excluding the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots, could begin trimming their rosters in preparation for the offseason.

Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas reacted to Gilbert's release:

Gilbert appeared in 12 games for Pittsburgh but played a total of 12 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, which gave him a 55 overall grade for his limited action on the field.

Despite his struggles, it's somewhat surprising Pittsburgh released Gilbert a year after sending a 2018 sixth-round draft pick to the Browns in order to acquire him. This isn't a cost-saving maneuver for the Steelers, either. According to Over the Cap, his departure doesn't carry any salary-cap savings, and his full $2.17 million salary becomes dead money.

It's too early to write off Gilbert's chances of getting another shot in the NFL. He turned 25 years old in November, and only one team needs to take a flier on a young cornerback who ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The fact the Steelers would rather pay more than $2.1 million in dead money than keep Gilbert on the roster is a damning indictment, though. Gilbert should take his time in considering his next move, because it may be his last opportunity to revive his NFL career.