Ladarius Green’s stay in Pittsburgh didn’t last very long. The team announced on Thursday it was releasing the veteran tight end from his four-year contract after a failed physical.
It became apparent early that Green wasn’t going to be the Steelers’ next Heath Miller. The 26-year-old tight end struggled with injuries throughout much of the 2016 season, but even when he was on the field, he never regained the level of production that turned heads in his final year with the then-San Diego Chargers.
Starting the season on the PUP list didn’t help. Green never gained any chemistry with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger because of injuries — including a major concern, concussions. He has missed time in Pittsburgh and San Diego with concussion-related incidents.
Though one could question the timing, cutting Green was definitely the right move for the Steelers. They need more consistency at the position and another weapon for Roethlisberger.
Where they plan on finding that sort of help at this time of year is anyone’s guess.
The Steelers could have sought help in a draft deep with tight end talent this year, but instead they passed on that opportunity and put their faith in Green. Even after the team suffered a crushing defeat the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game, Green remained confident that he’d get back onto the field and find a way to contribute next season.
“Frustrating season, but everybody has one. I hope it’s the only one I have,” Green said, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “I’m going to go train as soon as I get home, and hopefully next season works out a lot better. I was able to play, show a little bit of what I can do.”
The tight end position is a wasteland for the Steelers without Green. They have developed some level of comfort with Jesse James, but he lacks the big play ability the team has sorely missed at the position. Fortunately for the Steelers, they’re loaded everywhere else on offense. You can afford to miss players on offense when you have Le’Veon Ball running the ball, Antonio Brown catching it and Roethlisberger throwing it.
The Steelers didn’t miss the lack of tight end production last year, and as long as the Killer B’s are healthy they won’t miss it next season either.