Steelers Veteran Defensive Lineman Called 2024 Cut Candidate

Sitting more than $14 million over the salary cap, according to Spotrac, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to have difficult decisions to make this offseason. One those tough choices could be whether or not to keep veteran defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi.

Mike Tomlin

Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox argued that on January 29 when he listed Ogunjobi a player the Steelers must consider cutting this offseason.

“Ogunjobi is by no means a bad player, but his production doesn’t quite match his price point,” Knox wrote. “Pittsburgh needs to bolster a defense that ranked 21st in yards per rush allowed, and moving on from Ogunjobi could be part of the process.”

The Steelers signed Ogunjobi to a 3-year, $28.75 million contract after a successful 2022 campaign in Pittsburgh. But the deal was front loaded.

After having a $4.93 million cap hit in 2023, Ogunjobi’s cap hit will jump to $13.28 million for 2024.

According to Over the Cap, the Steelers can save $6.22 million in cap space by releasing Ogunjobi. If the team designates Ogunjobi a post-June 1 cut, the Steelers will save $9.75 million.

Why Larry Ogunjobi Could be a Cut Candidate for the Pittsburgh Steelers

Overall, Ogunjobi had a solid 2023 season. He posted a 58.7 player grade at Pro Football Focus, which isn’t a very impressive grade, but it’s not much different than the 61.7 player grade he had in 2022.

Before 2022, Ogunjobi hadn’t recorded a PFF grade of at least 58 since 2018.

The seven-year veteran also excelled in the more traditional statistics during 2023. He had more sacks, pass defenses and forced fumbles this past season than 2022.

But a cap hit north of $13 million for Ogunjobi is a bit pricy. PFF ranked him below average against the run, and he will turn 30 in June.

The Steelers drafted Keeanu Benton in the second round of the 2023 NFL draft. Benton played very well as a rookie, posting a 76.9 PFF player grade.

If the Steelers again used an early draft pick on a defensive lineman, they could have two young cornerstones to play with Cameron Heyward (assuming he returns).

That’s a much cheaper route than keeping Ogunjobi. It will also make Pittsburgh’s defensive line younger and potentially more productive.

Reasons Steelers Should Keep Ogunjobi for 2024

However, the reasons to try and keep Ogunjobi are fairly obvious too. Even with another early draft pick along the defensive line, the Steelers could use Ogunjobi for depth next season.

He could even continue to start until a younger player is ready to supplant him.

Knox argued that Benton and DeMarvin Leal make Ogunjobi expendable this offseason. But while Benton appears poised for a bigger role in 2024, Leal was a healthy scratch in the team’s final four contests.

Tomlin received a question about Leal’s future in his post-season press conference on January 18.

“There certainly is, but he’s got to be a component of that,” Tomlin said when asked about if Leal had a path to having a bigger role. “Obviously, we put helmets on guys that we think are best positioned to help us secure victory, and he hadn’t been a component of that, and so he’s got some work to do.”

The only other defensive lineman of note the Steelers have on their depth chart is Isaiahh Loudermilk. Therefore, cutting Ogunjobi would significantly hurt Pittsburgh’s defensive line depth.


It’s a risk the Steelers may be forced to consider, though, with their salary cap situation.

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