Five-star recruit Matas Buzelis — the No. 11 player in ESPN’s Top 100 for the Class of 2023 — has committed to the G League Ignite for the 2023-24 season, sources told ESPN on Friday.
Buzelis, a skilled 6-foot-10 forward, will bypass college basketball and sign into the NBA’s professional pathway program once he graduates from Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas next spring, sources said.
The G League Ignite program is based out of Northern California and constructed to prepare young players ahead of NBA draft eligibility. Former NBA guard Jason Hart is beginning his second season as the program’s coach, and several recent players, including the No. 8 pick Dyson Daniels (New Orleans) and No. 24 pick MarJon Beauchamp (Milwaukee) on Thursday,
The 2022 rookie class stepped out with stylish outfits for Thursday’s draft at Barclays Center. Some of the prospects’ looks featured sleek suits, exceptional color coordination and intricate designs. Others showed off flashy jewelry, shades and other accessories.
Here’s a look at some of the best fits from Brooklyn, New York, at the NBA draft:
The Steelers still lack a true #1 cornerback, but the 2023 NFL Draft could change that.
Ready for the NFL’s dog days of summer to be over? If you have fallen into this category and are currently suffering from football withdrawal, how about a splash into the pool entitled, “2023 NFL Draft”?
Over the next few weeks, we will be taking a brief look at the outlook of each primary position in the 2023 NFL Draft, breaking down the top prospects of note while also taking a look at the prospects who make the most sense for the Steelers. This week, we will be looking at a position the Steelers have many unanswered questions at: cornerback.
The Steelers traded for Ahkello Witherspoon before the 2021 season and chose to sign him on a cheap 2-year deal following the season. However, he has never held up when depended upon as a CB1. This year, he will be entrusted with that role, likely covering the right side of the field while newcomer Levi Wallace covers the left. Wallace, a well-received free-agent signing, may be limited athletically, but he is incredibly sound instinctually. Regardless of how well those two play together, neither player is locked up long-term, and the 2023 draft class provides us with several intriguing cornerback prospects, as you will see in a minute.
If you have any thoughts on these prospects, be sure to share them in the comment section below.
Let’s dive in!
1. Kelee Ringo | Georgia
Ringo is one of the more “toolsy” corners in the 2023 class, displaying great length and speed for the position. His long strides allow him to recover if he gets beat early in the route, and his ability to close on the ball quickly will likely lead to more splash plays down the road. I also love the fight and physicality he plays with, although there are times he can get too grabby downfield. If he continues to develop at his current pace, he will be a first-round lock come April.
2. Joey Porter, Jr. | Penn State
As you will read below, I am higher on Porter than the majority of draft pundits you will find. I love the feistiness he displays in press coverage, and I love the fluidity with which he moves. I also like the fact that he is not afraid to lower the boom and make a momentum-shifting tackle on a receivers either. We will dive into him a little more closely in just a moment.
3. Eli Ricks | Alabama
Ricks is yet another long corner who possesses lockdown potential. A transfer from LSU, Ricks burst onto the scene as a freshman with four interceptions, but we did not see the same production in 2021, as his season was shortened due to a shoulder injury that ended his season after only six games. The only other thing of note is that he was arrested in May for speeding and possession of marijuana. While the marijuana charge was dropped, teams may still have concerns about his character and maturity.
4. Malachi Moore | Alabama
Moore was one of the best defensive backs in the country as a freshman in 2020, recording 3 interceptions and 6 passes defended. Nagging injuries limited his impact in 2021, but if he can get back to his 2020 form, he could go as high as the top 10. Moore is a good, but not elite, athlete who is best known for his versatility and instincts. He will have plenty of talent around him in that Alabama secondary, and the dividends could pay off if he can take advantage of his situation.
Rest of the Top 10
5. Cam Smith | South Carolina 6. Clark Phillips | Utah 7. Antonio Johnson | Texas A&M 8. Garrett Williams | Syracuse 9. Nehemiah Pritchett | Auburn 10. Mekhi Gardner | LSU
Steelers Prospect to Watch
Joey Porter, Jr. | Penn State
The son of former Steelers player and coach Joey Porter, Sr., Porter has everything you look for in a corner. He is fast, physical, long, and fluid. He flips his hips cleanly and quickly in coverage, and he is versatile enough to play in either man or zone. However, we have not yet seen much from Porter in terms of splash plays. This is likely why there is not much buzz surrounding his draft status.
Whether you are confident in Ahkello Witherspoon and Levi Wallace or not, they are both on incredibly cheap deals. The Steelers have two young pieces in James Pierre and Justin Layne, but 2022 could be the final chance for both of them, as neither player has been able to enjoy sustained success during the regular season. Cameron Sutton and Arthur Maulet are the other corners of note, but Sutton is a free agent in 2023, and Maulet’s deal can easily be terminated after this year as well.
At the end of the day, the Steelers will need to take a close look at cornerbacks in the next couple drafts. There is no denying the fact that this team has struggled to get the position fixed through the draft, but at some point, you have to be able to develop your own talent at a position like corner. Playing the free agent game year after year is not sustainable. If the Steelers can find that elite corner they have lacked since the days of Ike Taylor, it will alleviate any concerns I have about the looks of this secondary moving forward.
Who is your favorite corner in the 2023 draft? Which one makes the most sense for the Steelers? Would you be okay with the Steelers taking one in the first round? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on March 6, 2020. “Rise,” the triumphant real-life story about the remarkable family that produced the first trio of brothers to become NBA champions is streaming now on Disney+.
ALEX ANTETOKOUNMPO THOUGHT he’d had a good game. The senior forward for Dominican High School and youngest of the four basketball-playing Antetokounmpo brothers had posted 15 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists in a 20-point victory over Mequon Homestead High School on Dec. 7.
His older brother Giannis had other ideas. The NBA’s reigning MVP was fresh off his own 27-point, 11-rebound, 4-assist game in a rout of the LA Clipperson his 25th birthday. He typically darts out of Alex’s high school games quickly to avoid being hounded by fans, but after this performance, he stuck around to share some blunt feedback. Afterward, Alex fired off a text to his coach,
On June 27, 2013, Giannis Antetokounmpo was unknown to the general public. Most scouts had only been able to observe a handful of games in person or via grainy footage on the internet. Seven years later, the No. 15 pick in that NBA draft has won his second consecutive MVP award and has become only the third player in league history to win most valuable player and defensive player of the year in the same season — all before the age of 26.
“The Giannis Draft” features several in-depth interviews, including exclusive access to the 2020 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, his agents Alex Saratsis and Giorgios Panou and NBA front office powerbrokers that will chronicle one of the most fascinating behind-the-scenes draft processes in modern NBA history.
Through deep reporting, Adrian Wojnarowski uncovers new revelations — from life as an immigrant growing up in Athens, Greece, to a clandestine
The NFL Draft is over and the Steelers have added many new faces to the roster. In this series, we’ll take a look at each position and what you need to know as the offseason rolls on. In Part Eight, we’ll break down the Inside Linebackers.
The Steelers face uncertainty at a position that historically has been a strength of the team. That position is Inside Linebacker (ILB). In addition to a lack of solid depth, the group has questions at the top, with it’s 2019 1st Round selection coming off a severe injury just two seasons ago which caused a substantial reduction in performance in 2021. How does it shake out for 2022? Let’s dive right in.
Devin Bush, Myles Jack, Robert Spillane, Ulysees Gilbert III, Marcus Allen, Buddy Johnson, Mark Robinson
Devin Bush holds the key to the entire position group, as his ability to rebound fully from his Torn ACL in 2020 will go a long way to determine the effectiveness of the unit. I, for one, am a believer in his ability to return to form, but it is far from a guarantee. If Bush can turn back the clock pre-injury, a unit that was a liability in 2021, especially against the run, gets a major boost from one of the most athletic ILBs in the game when healthy.
The Steelers big Free Agent acquisition on the Defense was Myles Jack, the former Pro-Bowl ILB from Jacksonville. Jack’s signing didn’t necessarily make sense from a stylistic approach, due to his striking similarity to Bush in that regard. However, the combination of Bush and Jack will give the Steelers one of the most athletic duos in the league. Despite not fitting the traditional role of BUCK Linebacker that would typically play opposite Devin’s spot on the Defense, the Steelers value speed and coverage ability, something Jack displays in spades.
Robert Spillane, Ulysees Gilbert, and Marcus Allen are the familiar faces playing backup roles for the guys we have already discussed. None of these three spark much confidence as spot start replacements as we currently sit. Spillane has the most in-game experience, but Gilbert and Allen represent the more athletic and versatile of the three. Gilbert is likely on his final chance to prove he can live up to that athletic potential. If he can show real improvement, you’d feel a lot better about the depth of this squad.
Buddy Johnson and 2022 Draft pick Mark Robinson don’t have much experience at ILB, but their potential is undeniable. Johnson will be given an opportunity to be a contributor in this defense and on special teams. Robinson, a collegiate Running Back for the majority of his career, shows superb but extremely raw athleticism. The Steelers are betting on Linebacker Coach Jerry Olsavsky and Brian Flores to help him grow and grow quickly.
Depth Chart Prediction
Right now the projections are less than stellar for this 2022 collection of ILBs. Despite the obvious skill of both Devin Bush and Myles Jack, the former’s confidence in his health going into the season will likely make or break the unit, and potentially the overall effectiveness of the entire Defense. If Bush isn’t a full go, the Steelers could elect to play Myles Jack more in Bush’s role while supplementing the position opposite with a mix of players including Bush and Spillane.
The team will look long and hard at potentially adding another player at ILB, although I suspect they will ride with their belief in their own ability to develop the depth talent on the roster. The players on the roster now most likely are the ones filling spots on the 53-man roster. The Steelers kept six ILBs in 2021. They could choose to do so again.
STARTERS: Devin Bush, Myles Jack
DEPTH: Robert Spillane, Buddy Johnson, Ulysses Gilbert III, Marcus Allen
Now that all of the Steelers 2022 draft class is under contract, one known expense has now been accounted for.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have filled up their 90-man offseason roster heading into the 2022 NFL season. While there still could be some significant swapping of players, there is always the chance something else changes things whether large or small. As reports come in of these deals well before they are official, even after pen is put to paper it can sometimes take some time to know the exact financials within the contract. Relying heavily on reliable salary cap websites such as overthecap.com or spotrac.com, when they are able to report a player’s contract numbers over the specific years I then update the salary cap situation with a more precise number.
On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced they signed their final 2022 NFL draft pick with quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Since it was known this deal would be getting done, it was estimated how much Pickett would count against the 2022 salary cap. After the numbers came in that Pickett’s cap hit this year will be $2,557,801 according to spotrac.com, it is about $330k less than the estimate given by OTC pryor to the draft. This number actually makes a lot of sense as it is exactly the number between 19th overall pick Trevor Penning and 21st overall pick Trent McDuffie. With a base salary of $705k, Pickett has a signing bonus of $7.411 million which will be spread over the four years of his contract.
If you are looking for the salary cap implications of Larry Ogunjobi, an estimation will be included at the bottom of the article.
To determine how much each player changes the Steelers’ salary cap space, their cap number must be adjusted due to roster displacement. As a reminder, roster displacement is taking into account only the top 51 contracts for a team count towards the salary cap during the offseason. As a larger contract comes on the books, it bumps a smaller contract out of the top 51. Therefore, it’s only the difference in those contracts that increases the salary cap number.
Here is the approximate breakdown of the Steelers salary cap space based on their recent moves by my own calculations. The numbers are strictly the salary cap hit for each player in 2022. Players who were released, were given a tender, or had their exact salary reported are indicated below and the precise numbers are known.
(NOTE: Unless indicated, reported salaries displaced a $825k salary.)
Steelers salary cap space heading into free agency: Approximately $28.8 million
Dwayne Haskins: Tendered $2.54 million salary; After displacement++: -$1.715 million Miles Killebrew: Reported $1.5175 million; After displacement: -$0.6925 million Arthur Maulet: Reported $1.535 million; After displacement: -$0.71 million Mitch Trubisky: Reported $3.66 million; After displacement+: -$2.765 million Mason Cole: Reported $2.556666 million; After displacement+: -$1.661666 million Chuks Okorafor: Reported $4.333333 million; After displacement: -$3.508333 million Robert Spillane: Tendered $2.433 million salary; After displacement: -$1.608 million Marcus Allen: Tendered $2.54 million salary; After displacement: -$1.715 million James Daniels: Reported $4.166666 million; After displacement: -$3.341666 million Levi Wallace: Reported $2.5175 million; After displacement*: -$1.672317 million Montravius Adams: Reported $1.7675 million; After displacement+: -$0.8725 million Zach Banner: Saved $5 million salary; After displacement: +$4.175 million Myles Jack: Reported $4.75 million; After displacement*: -$3.90139 million Joe Schobert: Saved $7.834 million salary; After displacement+: +$6.939 million Ahkello Witherspoon: Reported $2.5175 million; After displacement+: -$1.6225 million Gunner Olszewski: Reported $1.5825 million; After displacement+: -$0.6875 million Genard Avery: Reported $1.0475 million; After displacement+: -$0.1525 Karl Joseph: Reported $895k; not in the top 51: -$0 Miles Boykin: Reported $2.54 million; After displacement++: -$0 Terrell Edmunds: Reported $1.1875 million; After displacement+: -$0.2925 Damontae Kazee: Reported $1.0475 million; After displacement+: -$0.1525 George Pickens: Reported $1.22767 million; After displacement+: -$0.33267 Trenton Scott: Reported $895k; not in the top 51: -$0 DeMarvin Leal: Reported $0.943072 million; After displacement+: -$0.048072 Bryce Watts: Released with $10k in dead money: -$0.01 Tuzar Skipper: Reported $895k; not in the top 51: -$0 Stephon Tuitt: Saved $9.05 million salary; After displacement+: +$8.155 million Minkah Fitzpatrick: Reported $8.124235 million; Replaced $10.612 million: +$2.487765 million Kenny Pickett: Reported $2.557801 million; After displacement+: -$1.662801 Larry Ogunjobi: No specific report
Estimated salary cap space: Approximately $21.4 million
*The salaries displaced by these two contracts were $845,183 (Tre Norwood) and $848,610 (Pressley Harvin)
+A $895k contract was displaced
++Displaced by each other, giving no change to the cap
So where does this number compare to those reported by the major salary cap websites (at the original time of publishing, before any potential updates)?
According to overthecap.com, the Steelers are $23,106,733 under the salary cap. OTC does not have the new Pickett contract yet, but without it we had the exact same dollar amount.
Another credible salary cap website is spotrac.com, which has the Steelers at $20,956,076 under the cap. Spotrac has the above contracts but also has Miles Boykin’s prorated bonus incorrectly counting for the Steelers instead of it sticking with the Ravens. Spotrac does not have the offseason workouts counting against the salary cap at this time either.Additionally, Spotrac counts the potential dead money hits of players outside the top 51 salaries in their totals.
I have said in the past how he Steelers will need as much as an additional $10.8 million come September when they need to account for all 53 players on the roster, sign their practice squad, and have some carryover in order to do business throughout the year. But there is one more expense that could add to the $5 million the Steelers like to take into the season (in years past). If the Steelers elevate players from the practice squad, they must receive a full game check. Taking this into account, along with significant increases in league-minimum salaries of players who could be added to the roster if another player is injured, the Steelers may want to carry as much as another $2-3 million into the season. For this reason, a more conservative estimate of what the Steelers need to have available to start the season is $13 million.
Based on this number, the Steelers could have at least $8 million above what they need for the 2022. Even though there could be some dead money in contracts with players not making the 53-man roster, it should be offset even more by larger contracts of players who are waived.
What about Larry Ogunjobi?
On Thursday, it was reported that the one-year deal the Steelers worked out with Larry Ogunjobi will be worth up to $8 million with part of the contract being incentives. This per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The #Steelers are giving former #Bengals DT Larry Ogunjobi a one-year deal worth up to $8M including incentives, source said. After an unfortunate free agency situation with the #Bears, Ogunjobi’s foot has improved and he now has another chance to cash in next free agency.
The two questions now with Ogunjobi‘s contract is how much of it is incentives, and are they in the category of ‘not likely to be earned.’ The NFL deems all incentives either as likely or not likely to be earned. Based on this designation, it determines whether or not the amounts will fall on this year’s salary cap. If an incentive is deemed not likely to be earned, It does not count on the 2022 salary cap and will go towards the 2023 cap if the player achieves the bonus. If the incentive is deemed likely to be earned, it counts on the 2022 salary cap and if the player does not earn the bonus then it is taken off of next year’s salary cap.
If all of Ogunjobi‘s incentives were deemed likely to be earned, he would count $7.105 million against the Steelers salary cap after displacement. This amount seems extremely safe to know that it is the most he could count, assuming the $8 million figure is correct.
Once the incentives and their designations are known, then an accurate figure to be given for exactly what Ogunjobi will count on the Steelers’ salary cap.
One item of note which may or may not mean anything is the NFLPA‘s salary cap report earlier this week had the Steelers with exactly $3.5 million less than what I expected their figure to be. Could this be how much Ogunjobi counted against the salary cap after displacement? It could be. If so, that would mean that Ogunjobi counted as $4.395 million in salary cap space (since the $3.5 million would be after roster displacement) for 2022 and would have approximately $3.605 million in incentives. I’m not saying this is what happened with his contract, but I’m saying that it is one possibility.
For this reason, I estimate Ogunjobi will count between $3.5 million and $7 million toward the 2022 salary cap after displacement. If I were to guess, I would not put his number being around $5 million unless the incentives are all deemed likely to be earned.
Does something not make sense? Curious about any of the specifics? Leave your questions in the comments below and I will check in and do my best to answer them.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are confident Larry Ogunjobi will be ready to go when the team reports to training camp on July 26th.
The newest member of the Pittsburgh Steelers carries a giant ‘if’ with him. Whenever anyone is talking about Larry Ogunjobi joining the black and gold, it is likely followed up with a statement which resembles, “if he is healthy.”
Ogunjobi played well enough for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2021 he was set to sign a multi-year contract with the Chicago Bears this offseason before he failed his physical. The injury is a Lisfranc injury which occurred at the end of last season and required surgery.
Hesitation on expectations certainly is warranted, but the Steelers are expecting Ogunjobi to be healthy and ready to play when the team reports to Saint Vincent College for training camp on July 26th.
This per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Steelers expecting DT Larry Ogunjobi to be ready for training camp after having Lisfranc surgery. Hey, they wouldn’t have signed him if he couldn’t pass their physical.
Steelers fans who have been a fan of the team long enough will remember a similar situation with Ladarius Green. Green was a highly sought after tight end who played his entire career with the San Diego Chargers. During his time in San Diego he suffered a nasty ankle injury which required offseason surgery, and a history of concussions.
The Steelers rolled the dice, and while Green eventually got on the field, it was short-lived. You can’t control concussions, but if you remember Green missed the vast majority of training camp and the preseason with his ankle, something the Steelers are hoping to avoid with Ogunjobi.
With the team not reporting for over a month, there will be plenty of time to see if the Steelers’ latest addition will be at full strength, or if he’ll start camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the team as they prepare for the rest of the offseason.
Get the latest BTSC podcast content in the ‘Podcast Roundup’.
The Pittsburgh Steelers seasons come and go with no real offseason, at least not for those diehard fans. For those fans, the preseason bleeds into the regular season, the regular season into the offseason, free agency and the NFL Draft. It is a vicious, never-ending cycle.
Nonetheless, we here at BTSC, and our podcast platform, are here with you every step of the way. In the past we have given you the podcasts in individual articles on the website but have decided to go with a ‘Podcast Roundup’ article which has the latest four podcasts for your enjoyment. The reasoning behind this is to take up less space on the site for the great written content we have at BTSC.
With that being said and typed, enjoy the shows below with a brief description of each show.
What Yinz Talkin’ Bout: The Tomlin Talk Heard Around the World
What Yinz Talkin’ Bout is the conversation about the Steelers social media conversation. Hosts Kyle Chrise (@KyleChrise) & Greg Benevent (@GregBenvent) expose the hottest and most toxic Steelers takes on the internet. This week, we break down the most important interview of Mike Tomlin’s career, and why the haters can no longer deny him. Plus, how the media missed all the important and interesting parts of Chase Claypool’s “top 3” claim. And the revisionist history of Super Bowl XLV. Join Kyle and Greg for their black-and-gold breakdown of everything “Stillers” on Twitter and beyond.
Rundown of the show:
Mike Tomlin’s approach to coaching on “The Pivot”
Chase Claypool’s Claims
Matt Canada Conspiracies
Welcome Larry Ogunjobi?
Much, Much More
Take a deep dive into the world of Steelers social media from a yinzer perspective as BTSC proudly presents a very unique show that highlights “What Yinz Talkin’ Bout”.
The Steelers Preview: Should the Steelers’ front office be satisfied with the 2022 roster?
After signing Larry Ogunjobi, fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers are wondering if another corner or a running back may be next on the list to pursue. However, the team may feel tat the roster is complete going into camp. Are they satisfied enough to stand pat. Join Jeff Hartman, Dave Schofield, and Bryan Anthony Davis as they determine whether it’s the former or the latter for the Steelers.
Check out the rundown of the show:
Are the Steelers done making moves?
Let’s Ride, Friday: Why I’m rooting hard for Kenny Pickett to be QB1
.The Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback battle has been talked about a lot this offseason, but there is a rooting interest within the ranks of BTSC. Senior Editor Jeff Hartman dives into this topic, and more, on the latest episode of the Let’s Ride podcast.
Check out the rundown of the show:
News and Notes
Hart to Heart
Rooting hard for Kenny Pickett to become the Steelers QB1
and MUCH MORE!
Jeff Hartman of BTSC walks you through everything you need to know regarding the black-and-gold.
Be sure to check out this and all episodes on the following platforms:
NBA free agency doesn’t begin until June 30 at 6 p.m. ET, but the news is already rolling in from around the Association.
Much of the early buzz is coming out of New York, where Kyrie Irving‘s contract status has pundits and fans speculating about the future of the Brooklyn Nets‘ star point guard. (Irving has a $36.5 million player option for the 2022-23 season.)
And which free agents will change teams this summer? Some of the biggest names include Zach LaVine, Jalen Brunson and Deandre Ayton, all of whom could provide a major boost to a new franchise if they choose a change of scenery.