Roughly four months after trading for William Jackson III, the Pittsburgh Steelers have released the veteran cornerback and former first-round pick, the team announced. Pittsburgh had acquired Jackson and a conditional 2025 seventh-round pick just before last year's trade deadline after sending the Commanders a conditional 2025 sixth-round pick.
The draft picks included in the trade were voided after Jackson never played a down for the Steelers. Jackson injured his back during a game against the Titans prior to being traded. By releasing him, the Steelers free up $12,187,500 of cap space.
Pittsburgh coveted Jackson leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, but the Bengals snatched him with the 25th overall pick just before the Steelers could. The Steelers instead selected Artie Burns with the 26th pick.
Jackson missed his entire rookie season after suffering an injury during Bengals training camp. He was a spot starter in 2017 before becoming a full-time starter in 2018. He remained in the Bengals' starting lineup through the 2020 season before he signed with Washington as a free agent in 2021. Jackson picked off two passes during his first year in Washington but was traded after just 16 games with the club.
Cornerback is one of the positions the Steelers may elect to address with the 17th overall pick in next month's draft. Many draft experts have Pittsburgh using the pick to select former Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr., the son of former Steelers Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Porter.