The Pittsburgh Steelers have been busy so far this offseason making additions to their team via free agency, but they have also been taking care of their own in a multitude of ways. Whether it was Ramon Foster and Maurkice Pouncey getting a new contract, or the team putting tenders on Restricted Free Agents, they are doing their diligence to make their roster the best it can be.
But that doesn’t mean their work is done yet either.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, slot cornerback Mike Hilton, who is an Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFA), is looking for a new contract.
Contract situation to watch in Pittsburgh: After two productive years, slot corner Mike Hilton plans to wait to sign his ERFA tender while exploring a new deal, per source. One of team's best tacklers won't miss offseason work, though. Similar approach to Al Villanueva in '17— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 20, 2019
Steelers placed exclusive rights tenders on two players with starter's experience, CB Mike Hilton and RT Matt Feiler. The $645,000 tender presents challenges for established players. Al Villanueva didn't sign his ERFA in 17 before an extension came on report day of training camp.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 20, 2019
Hilton finds himself in the same position offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva found himself in 2017. As a starting left tackle in the NFL, Villanueva was making chump change compared to his counterparts across the league. It was Villanueva’s approach which got the attention of the Steelers.
Did he sit out workouts? Did he slander the team/coaching staff/ownership on social media?
No, in fact he never missed workout during Organized Team Activities or Minicamp.
Villanueva was rewarded with a brand new contract on the first day of training camp, and Hilton is ready to follow the Villanueva path to getting his own pay day. By all accounts, Hilton is a team-first player who is known for his work ethic and tenacious approach to the game. He realizes his best chance for getting a new deal, and not having to sign his tender to play the 2019 season for less than $1 million dollars, is to do exactly what Villanueva did a few years ago.
Show up and work your butt off, and the team will reciprocate this with a new contract.
Hilton is coming off a season where he set a new career mark with tackles, 57, but his interceptions and sacks, 1 and 1 respectively, came down from his 2017 marks. Hilton is considered to be one of the most talented slot cornerbacks in the NFL, despite his 5’9” frame, and it would be wise for the Steelers to keep Hilton in Pittsburgh to help secure that position on an improving secondary.
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold this offseason!