The Pittsburgh Steelers have done an extreme home makeover to their secondary this offseason, with the latest change coming Wednesday with the release of 28-year-old cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. The six-year veteran was set to have a $5.48 million cap hit in 2023, and his release will save Pittsburgh $4 million against the salary cap.
Knee and hamstring issues plagued the San Francisco 49ers third-round pick from the 2017 NFL Draft, as he missed 21 of a possible 34 regular season games since joining the Steelers in 2021. Witherspoon totaled four interceptions, 11 pass breakups and 35 tackles in his 13 games played across the past two seasons.
Pittsburgh has spent plenty of additional resources, both from free agency and the draft, to reshape its defensive backfield. Two of its bigger moves were signing eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson to a two-year, $14 million contract and selecting Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. 32nd overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Less headline-grabbing moves have included signing former Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chandon Sullivan to a one-year deal plus selecting Purdue cornerback Cory Trice in the seventh round of the most recent draft.