Pittsburgh Steelers release veteran inside linebacker Vince Williams after 8 seasons

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers lost another starter Tuesday when they released veteran inside linebacker Vince Williams.

Williams, 31, spent the past eight seasons in Pittsburgh after being selected in the sixth round of the 2013 draft.

Williams hinted that he may be leaving the organization with a cryptic tweet Monday night, and he told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler on Tuesday that his release has been in the works for a few days. Williams said he has a lot of football left and is eager to provide veteran leadership and play for a team that needs it.

Williams' usage jumped significantly last season after the departure of Mark Barron, playing 65% of defensive snaps, up from 37% the year before. Williams was a full-time starter in three of the past four seasons, and finishes his Pittsburgh career with appearances in 121 games, 69 starts, two interceptions -- including a pick-six -- 20.5 sacks and 333 solo tackles.

The move saves the Steelers $4 million in cap space, but he will still count $3 million toward the cap in dead money for the 2021 season.

With Williams' release, the Steelers are down four defensive starters since the free agency negotiating period began. Bud Dupree, Mike Hilton and Tyson Alualu signed free-agent deals elsewhere.