The Steelers made several cap cutting moves on Monday, releasing OLB Anthony Chickillo, ILB Mark Barron and receiver Johnny Holton. The Steelers save $5 million by releasing Chickillo, $5.25 million by releasing Barron and $825,000 by cutting Holton.
A sixth-round pick in the 2015 draft, Chickillo, who played collegiate at the University of Miami, made nine starts in 65 regular season games for the Steelers. He tallied 97 tackles (11 for loss), 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He also saw significant time on special teams during his five seasons in Pittsburgh. One team that may be interested in Chickillo's services is the Patriots, who reportedly offered him a two-year deal similar to the one he signed with the Steelers last offseason.
Barron was signed by the Steelers last offseason after spending the previous five seasons with the Rams. In 15 games (nine starts) with the Steelers, Barron recorded 82 tackles, three sacks, one interception, and one fumble recovery. His play helped the Steelers' defense finish first in the NFL in sacks and turnovers forced, third in fewest yards per rush allowed, third in passing yards allowed, and sixth in red zone efficiency.
Holton made the Steelers' 53-man roster last summer following a solid preseason. Holton, who broke into the NFL with the Raiders in 2016, was unable to duplicate that success during the regular season, catching just three of 15 targets for 21 yards. The Steelers likely regret their decision to keep Holton heading into the 2019 season over Diontae Spencer, who averaged 29.1 yards per kickoff return with the Broncos after he was waived by the Steelers.
Along with tagging Dupree, the Steelers are expected to sign fellow OLB T.J. Watt to a longterm deal this offseason. Conversely, Pittsburgh is not expected to retain DT Javon Hargrave, the team's third round pick back in 2016. Hargrave is expected to receive several offers after blossoming into a quality starter with the Steelers.