What a week for David Johnson. Seven days ago Johnson was the first Mike Tomlin-era Pittsburgh Steeler to hold the title of “full back.” Today, after tearing his ACL in the Steelers preseason opener at Philadelphia, Johnson finds himself out on the street unemployed.
Well, perhaps that’s a tad bit over dramatic, but the Steelers did place David Johnson on the injured/waived list. As clarified by Neal Coolong of Behind the Steel Curtain, the move allows another team to sign Johnson. If no one opts to pick him up, his rights revert to the Steelers.
In all likelihood that is exactly what will happen, for whatever it is worth. Johnson is done for the year and will become a free agent next year, giving another team little incentive in signing him.
The Steelers likely took this step, in lieu of simply putting Johnson on injuries reserve for salary cap reasons, although I remain unaware of the Steelers obligations to Johnson since he did sign his 1.2 million dollar restricted free agent tender this spring.
To take Johnson’s place on the roster, the Steelers signed veteran Justin Peelle, who was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2002, and has played in San Francisco, Miami, and most recently Atlanta.
All of these players, including Justin Peelle, are primarily or exclusively tight ends. The only pure fullback on the Steelers roster is rookie free agent Will Johnson.