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Steelers 2020 Free Agent Market Watch: The Cornerbacks the Steelers Can’t Afford

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BTSC takes a look at the top free agents at each position whether or not they are in the Steelers price range. Here are the pass defenders.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Disclaimer: The author realizes that the Steelers are burning in Salary Cap Hell and can’t pony up much money for free agents. However, you never know what they have planned and it’s the author’s responsibility to highlight the free agent options. It’s like the lyric in the Train classic, Drops of Jupiter...And tell me did you sail across the sun? Did you make it to the Milky Way to see the lights all faded and that heaven is overrated? And tell me did you fall from a shooting star, one without a permanent scar and did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there? Well, kind of.

The Steelers are stronger at the CB position than they've been in a long time with Joe Haden and Steven Nelson starting. But with their slot corner, Mike Hilton, a restricted free agent...the Steelers have a player they would like to retain, but might not be able to. If they do find salary cap room to sign or match, that may be the free agent route they go at the position. They could cut ties and look at Cam Sutton or Justin Layne here as well. But for the sake of the series, here is the list of available free agents should a Steel City Money Miracle occur and the Steelers inexplicably look to add a free agent corner.

ONCE AGAIN. THE AUTHOR REALIZES THAT THE STEELERS DO NOT HAVE THE FUNDS FOR MANY OF THESE PLAYERS. HOWEVER, THIS IS THE LIST OF WHO IS AVAILABLE TO THE ENTIRE LEAGUE AND THE STEELERS. YOU CAN CRITICIZE THE IDIOT AUTHOR IN FACEBOOK OR BLEACHER REPORT COMMENTS FOR WASTING YOUR TIME AND NOT KNOWING ANYTHING AT ALL, AGAIN AND AGAIN. HOWEVER, THESE WILL CONTINUE TO APPEAR.

Here is the list of free agents at the position should the Steelers or the competition be shopping. One more time, the author is aware that Steelers have little room under the cap. But if you read the entire article, you’ll be able to amaze your friends, family, coworkers and people in line at the bank or supermarket with your vast knowledge of NFL Free Agents.


Byron Jones - Dallas Cowboys

Age 27, 6’0”

2019 Stats - 15 games, 0 interceptions, 53 times targeted, 6 pass defenses, 30 receptions allowed, 53.1 completion % allowed, 0 touchdown scored

No. 14 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 76.1 (High Quality), Coverage 74.8 (Above Average), Run Defense 75.1 (High Quality) 0 touchdown scored

Jones is a top option for any team looking for a corner. Although he hasn’t had an interception since his switch from safety, the Cowboy has emerged as one of the top coverage guys out there. In fact, he matches up very well against the Tight End and will be a valuable signing for whoever opens the wallet.


Chris Harris Jr. - Denver Broncos

Age 30, 5’10”

2019 Stats - 16 games, 1 interceptions, 68 times targeted, 6 pass defenses, 47 receptions allowed, 0 touchdowns scored, 67.1 completion % allowed,

No. 34 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 69.9 (Above Average), Coverage 66.8 (Above Average), Run Defense 82.8 (High Quality)

Harris is a senior guy at the position, but still a fantastic slot corner. True that the Super Bowl Champ and 4x Pro Bowler had his worst season last year, but it was due to a switch primarily to the outside. This is a good veteran sign at the right cost. With the Broncos trading for A.J. Bouye, Harris will most likely end up with another franchise.


Jimmy Smith - Baltimore Ravens

Age 31, 6’2”

2019 Stats - 9 games, 1 interception, 47 times targeted, 6 pass defenses, 24 receptions allowed, 56.0 completion % allowed, 0 touchdowns scored

No. 43 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 65.6 (Above Average), Coverage 64.2 (Average), Run Defense 70.0 (Above Average)

Teams could probably get Jimmy Smith for a veteran deal. His penchant for injury has rendered him a part-time guy since his last full season in 2015. Still a good option for a depth piece at maybe a good price.


James Bradberry - Carolina Panthers

Age 26, 6’1”/347 lbs.

2019 Stats - 15 games, 3 interceptions, 81 times targeted, 12 pass defenses, 48 receptions allowed, 59.8 completion % allowed, 0 touchdowns scored

No. 68 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 60.9 (Average), Coverage 64.5 (Average), Run Defense 37.7 (Poor)

Bradberry has been labeled as a suspect tackler, but he’s been lining up against No. 1 guys and has shown plenty of promise. He’s a franchise tag possibility for Carolina, but should do well as a free agent.


Darqueze Dennard - Cincinnati Bengals

Age 28, 5’11”

2019 Stats - 9 games, 0 interceptions, 33 times targeted, 5 pass defenses, 18 receptions allowed, 48.6% completion % allowed, 0 touchdowns scored

No. 21 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 72.2 (Above Average), Coverage 76.0 (High Quality), Run Defense 57.7 (Average)

Dennard has an injury history that has led him to playing really only one full season. That was last year where he played mostly as a slot corner and he played it well. GMs are going to have to take a while in weighing the risks and rewards with Dennard.


Other Notable Free Agent Cornerbacks:

Bradley Roby - Houston Texans

Kendall Fuller - Kansas City Chiefs

Brian Poole - New York Jets

Ronald Darby - Philadelphia Eagles

Prince Amukamara - Chicago Bears

Mackensie Alexander - Minnesota Vikings

Trae Waynes - Minnesota Vikings

Mike Hilton - Pittsburgh Steelers (RFA)

Kevin Johnson - Buffalo Bills

Logan Ryan - Tennessee Titans

Tramon Williams - Green Bay Packers

Ross Cockrell - Carolina Panthers

Josh Norman - Washington Redskins

Aqib Talib - Miami Dolphins

Vernon Hargreaves - Houston Texans


Poll

Regardless of affordability, what Free Agent Corner would you like the Steelers to sign in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Byron Jones
    (53 votes)
  • 8%
    Chris Harris Jr
    (24 votes)
  • 3%
    Jimmy Smith
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    James Bradberry
    (2 votes)
  • 4%
    Darqueze Dennard
    (12 votes)
  • 1%
    Bradley Robu
    (5 votes)
  • 4%
    Kendall Fuller
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    Brian Poole
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    Ronald Darby
    (6 votes)
  • 2%
    Prince Amukamara
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    Mackensie Alexander
    (4 votes)
  • 3%
    Trae Waynes
    (9 votes)
  • 29%
    Mike Hilton
    (82 votes)
  • 0%
    Kevin Johnson
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Logan Ryan
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Tramon Williams
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Ross Cockrell
    (2 votes)
  • 5%
    Josh Norman
    (16 votes)
  • 3%
    Aqib Talib
    (10 votes)
  • 5%
    Vernon Hargreaves
    (14 votes)
275 votes total Vote Now