Disclaimer: The author realizes that the 2021 Steelers are probably going to be 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.
The Steelers have very good, but high-priced talent, at the cornerback position in Joe Haden and Steven Nelson. Both will be free agents in 2022. As for 2021, they have Cam Sutton and Mike Hilton with expired deals right now, Should the Steelers decide that they need to address the position in free agency, this is who is looking for a deal at the position.
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 ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER OR BLEACHER REPORT COMMENTS SECTION FOR WASTING YOUR TIME AND NOT KNOWING ANYTHING AT ALL, AGAIN AND AGAIN. HOWEVER, THESE WILL CONTINUE TO APPEAR.
Most Notable Free Agent Cornerbacks
William Jackson III - Cincinnati Bengals
Age 28, 6’0”/196 lbs.
Stats: Games Played - 14, Speed - 4.37
No. 20 PFF Position Ranking
Interceptions: 1, Pass Defenses: 11, Times Targeted: 74, Completions Against: 38, Completion %: 54.2%, Touchdown: 0, Sacks: 0.0, Combined Tackles: 45, Solo Tackles: 38, Tackles For Loss: 1, Quarterback Hits: 0
Overall Grade 71.4 (Above Average), Pass Rush 64.7 (Average), Run Defense 52.7 (Below Average), Coverage 72.4 (Above Average)
William Jackson was the guy that they wanted in 2016 instead of Artie Burns. They missed out by one pick. Jackson has started 48 games in his career and has had solid seasons for struggling Bengals teams, but never has played a full season. Not quite a shutdown corner, but Jackson comes close. The Steelers might not have the 13.3 million that PFF projects it would take to get the player they coveted 5 years ago, but if they make a move on one of their other corners...it is possible.
Darious Williams (RFA) - Los Angeles Rams
Age 28, 5’9”/187 lbs.
Stats: Games Played - 16, Speed - 4.44
No. 4 PFF Position Ranking
Interceptions: 4, Pass Defenses: 14, Times Targeted: 72, Completions Against: 39, Completion %: 54.2%, Touchdowns: 0, Sacks: 0.0, Combined Tackles: 44, Solo Tackles: 37, Tackles For Loss: 1, Quarterback Hits: 0
Overall Grade 80.0 (High Quality), Pass Rush 72.0 (Above Average), Run Defense 56.3 (Average), Coverage 79.6 (High Quality)
Williams is a true rags-to-riches story in the NFL. A walk-on at UAB, the corner was an undrafted free agent signing for the Ravens. But Baltimore didn’t see the long-term potential and let him fly away. The Rams picked him up and he developed over time into a high quality defensive back. As a restricted free agent with a probable high price tag, Williams may not be in everybody’s cart, but he may be worth the compensation.
Xavier Rhodes - Indianapolis Colts
Age 31, 6’1”/218 lbs.
Stats: Games Played - 16, Speed - 4.43
No. 9 PFF Position Ranking
Interceptions: 2, Pass Defenses: 12, Times Targeted: 81, Completions Against: 42, Completion %: 51.9%, Touchdowns: 0, Sacks: 0.0, Combined Tackles: 42, Solo Tackles: 35, Tackles For Loss: 0, Quarterback Hits: 0
Overall Grade 76.3 (High Quality), Pass Rush 66.4 (Above Average), Run Defense 58.0 (Average), Coverage 77.5 (High Quality)
Xavier Rhodes looked like he was through by the end of his tenure in Minnesota, but he returned to a high level of play in a healthy, first season in Indianapolis. Opposing quarterbacks and receivers didn’t find success in front of Rhodes in 2020. Now that he is a shutdown corner again, PFF projects a deal in the neighborhood of $8 million per year.
Brian Poole - New York Jets
Age 28, 5’10”/213 lbs.
Stats: Games Played - 9, Speed - 4.6
No. 11 PFF Position Ranking
Interceptions: 2, Pass Defenses: 7, Times Targeted: 39, Completions Against: 25, Completion 64.1%: , Touchdowns: 0, Sacks: 1.0, Combined Tackles: 44, Solo Tackles: 34, Tackles For Loss: 2, Quarterback Hits: 2
Overall Grade 77.1 (High Quality), Pass Rush 69.8 (Above Average), Run Defense 49.7 (Below Average), Coverage 79.5 (High Quality)
Brian Poole has emerged as a high-quality slot corner in his time with the New York Jets. Poole’s coverage skills are a major staple of his success and continually plays at a consistent level. PFF projects a deal worth $6 million per year at a rapidly-evolving position of importance.
Desmond King - Tennessee Titans
Age 26, 5’10”/200 lbs.
Stats: Games Played - 15, Speed - 4.57
No. 40 PFF Position Ranking
Interceptions: 0, Pass Defenses: 0, Times Targeted: 17, Completions Against: 11, Completion %: 64.7%, Touchdowns: 0, Sacks: 0.0, Combined Tackles: 24, Solo Tackles: 19, Tackles For Loss: 0, Quarterback Hits: 1
Overall Grade 65.5 (Above Average), Pass Rush 78.4 (High Quality), Run Defense 70.6 (Above Average), Coverage 60.9 (Average)
Desmond King is very versatile and can play all over the secondary. The former Charger and Titan grades out best as a slot corner, but his first two NFL campaigns were better than his last two. Should he rebound, PFF’s projected worth of $5.83 million per year could be a bargain for a team looking for defensive backfield help and a talented return specialist.
Steelers Free Agent Cornerbacks
Age 27, 5’9”/184 lbs.
Stats: Games Played - 12, Speed - 4.55
No. 53 PFF Position Ranking
Interceptions: 3, Pass Defenses: 7, Times Targeted: 45, Completions Against: 29, Completion %: 64.4%, Touchdowns: 0, Sacks: 3.0, Combined Tackles: 51, Solo Tackles: 42, Tackles For Loss: 8, Quarterback Hits: 5, Forced Fumbles: 1, Fumble Recoveries: 2
Overall Grade 68.9 (Above Average), Pass Rush 81.5 (High Quality), Run Defense 55.9 (Average), Coverage 67.0 (Above Average)
Hilton has been such a valuable player for the Steelers, one you would think they’d want to retain. But the talented slot-man’s high level play over the past couple of seasons may have priced him out of Pittsburgh. Hilton could be a value to anybody for what PFF projects to be a bargain price of $4 million per year for a player of Hilton’s caliber.
Age 26, 5’11”/188 lbs.
Stats: Games Played - 16, Speed - 4.5
No. 30 PFF Position Ranking
Interceptions: , Pass Defenses: , Times Targeted: , Completions Against: , Completion %: , Touchdowns: 0, Sacks: , Combined Tackles: , Solo Tackles: , Tackles For Loss: , Quarterback Hits: Forced Fumbles: 3, Fumble Recoveries: 1
Overall Grade 68.6 (Above Average), Pass Rush 71.4 (Above Average), Run Defense 29.4 (Rookie), Coverage 73.9 (Above Average)
Cam Sutton plays at a high level whether it’s on the outside or in the slot. No. 20 has played in a crowded secondary in the Steel City, but continually turns out impressive film. At a projected $2.75 per year, the Steelers may make a play to retain Sutton’s services.
Other Free Agent Cornerbacks
Johnathan Joseph - Arizona Cardinals
Dre Kirkpatrick - Arizona Cardinals
Patrick Peterson - Arizona Cardinals
Darqueze Dennard - Atlanta Falcons
Blidi Wreh-Wilson - Atlanta Falcons
Tramon Williams - Baltimore Ravens
Josh Norman - Buffalo Bills
Levi Wallace (RFA) - Buffalo Bills
Corn Elder (RFA) - Carolina Panthers
Rasul Douglas - Carolina Panthers
Artie Burns - Chicago Bears
Sherrick McManis - Chicago Bears
Mackensie Alexander - Cincinnati Bengals
Leshaun Sims - Cincinnati Bengals
Terrance Marshall - Cleveland Browns
Kevin Johnson - Cleveland Browns
C.J. Goodwin - Dallas Cowboys
Chidobe Awuzie - Dallas Cowboys
Jourdan Lewis - Dallas Cowboys
A.J. Bouye - Denver Broncos
DeVante Bausby - Denver Broncos
Mike Ford (RFA) - Detroit Lions
Tony McRae - Detroit Lions
Darryl Roberts - Detroit Lions
Kevin King, CB - Green Bay Packers
Gareon Conley - Houston Texans
Vernon Hargreaves - Houston Texans
Phillip Gaines - Houston Texans
T.J. Carrie - Indianapolis Colts
Greg Mabin - Jacksonville Jaguars
D.J. Hayden - Jacksonville Jaguars
Sidney Jones - Jacksonville Jaguars
Charvarius Ward (RFA) - Kansas City Chiefs
Antonio Hamilton - Kansas City Chiefs
Baushad Breeland - Kansas City Chiefs
Daryl Worley - Las Vegas Raiders
Nevin Lawson - Las Vegas Raiders
Jaylen Watkins - Los Angeles Chargers
Michael Davis - Los Angeles Chargers
Troy Hill - Los Angeles Rams
J.C. Jackson (RFA) - New England Patriots
Jason McCourty - New England Patriots
Justin Bethel - New England Patriots
Ken Crawley - New Orleans Saints
P.J. Williams - New Orleans Saints
Justin Hardee - New Orleans Saints
Arthur Maulet - New York Jets
Cre’von LeBlanc - Philadelphia Eagles
Jason Verrett - San Francisco 49ers
Ahkello Witherspoon - San Francisco 49ers
K’Waun Williams - San Francisco 49ers
Richard Sherman - San Francisco 49ers
Jamar Taylor, CB - San Francisco 49ers
Quinton Dunbar - Seattle Seahawks
Shaq Griffin - Seattle Seahawks
Neiko Thorpe - Seattle Seahawks
Jayson Stanley - Seattle Seahawks
Jaydon Mickens - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ryan Smith - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ross Cockrell - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Breon Borders - Tennessee Titans
Tye Smith - Tennessee Titans
Chris Milton - Tennessee Titans
Ronald Darby - Washington Football Team
Fabian Moreau - Washington Football Team